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Zebrafish Imaging System Facilitates Medical Treatment Studies
Because zebrafish larvae - tiny, transparent vertebrates - are genetically similar to humans and have many of the same developmental pathways, scientists often use them to model human diseases. However, visually examining the larvae for variations caused by drugs or genetic mutations is an imprecise and time-consuming process. Engineers at MIT have built an automated system that can rapidly produce 3D, micron-resolution images of zebrafish larvae and precisely analyze their physical traits. 3D reconstructions are made using optical projection tomography (OPT) and hundreds or thousands of larvae can be imaged within hours. A new computer algorithm can measure hundreds of traits and use that information to create a comprehensive phenotype map for each larva. This enables rapid and detailed studies of how different drugs affect those phenotypes.
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