Fish tank favourite zebrafish could hold the key to curing blindness in humans


THE zebrafish — a popular addition to many fish tanks — may hold the key to curing blindness.

Scientists found the fish can regrow body parts, including retinas.

The zebrafish — a popular addition to many fish tanks — may hold the key to curing blindness

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The zebrafish — a popular addition to many fish tanks — may hold the key to curing blindnessCredit: iStockphoto – Getty
It is hoped one day patients will simply be able to grow new retinas - just like the zebrafish.

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It is hoped one day patients will simply be able to grow new retinas – just like the zebrafish.Credit: Alamy

Damage to cells in the retina, light sensitive tissue at the back of the eye, is one of the most common causdes of blindness.

The fish can repair the optic nerve carrying vital information to the brain in just a week.

Zebrafish share around 70 per cent of their genes with humans.

And because their flesh is nearly transparent during development, researchers can observe their internal organs.

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US research showed a reduction in a chemical in the fish’s brain triggered cells into action.

Prof James Patton said: “These cells then migrate to damaged retina and differentiate into whatever is needed for repair.”

It is hoped one day, under the care of their doctor, patients will simply be able to grow new retinas – just like the zebrafish.

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