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The zebrafish earned its stripes

Despite missing the characteristic stripes one would expect from a zebra – or a zebrafish – the fractals in this Picture of the Week show a zebrafish; or at least some cells in a zebrafish embryo, a few hours after fertilisation.

Zebrafish are not only popular aquarium fish, they are also an important and widely used model organism in scientific research. They are used to develop new drugs and to study the functions of genes. They are even one of the few types of fish that have ever made it into space.

As a model organism, the zebrafish possesses numerous advantages for researchers. The genome of the fish has been fully sequenced since 2013. Zebrafish also have well-understood, easily observable and testable developmental behaviours. This way the study of the tiny, unremarkable zebrafish has allowed progress in toxicology, genetics, neurobiology, environmental sciences, stem cell research, evolutionary theories and many more fields.

Credit: Jonas Hartmann & Elisa Gallo/EMBL

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Tags: embryo, model organisms, Picture of the Week, Zebrafish

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Picture of the week

Scientists at EMBL Hamburg use specially designed mirrors to reflect and focus X-ray beams onto tiny crystals made of proteins or other biological molecules.

By  Dorota Badowska

Two X-ray mirrors installed in the macromolecular crystallography beamline P14 at EMBL Hamburg. The mirrors are visible in the photo as dark rectangular crystal blocks, with two metal holders supporting the crystals in a stress-free position. The mirrors are inserted into a vacuum-compatible stainless steel vessel.

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