Zebrafish Models to Study Stem Cells

Stem cells arise before the birth of an organism. During embryonic development, stem cells acquire the abilities to generate replica copies (self-renewal) and produce more specialized cell types (differentiation). Understanding how stem cells form inside organisms could provide scientists with better tools to manipulate stem cells in a dish, which would greatly enhance stem cell utility in regenerative medicine. Although nature can faithfully generate stem cells in vivo, scientists have been unable to crack this code. Model organisms, such as the zebrafish, can provide a window into the earliest events in a stem cell’s birth. Additionally, unlike mammals, zebrafish maintain the ability to completely regenerate most organs as adults, thus allowing a dissection of the necessary signals to facilitate tissue regeneration in higher vertebrates.

Zebrafish as ...

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