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Exp Gerontol. 2002 Aug-Sep;37(8-9):1055-68.

Life spans and senescent phenotypes in two strains of Zebrafish (Danio rerio).

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Department of Pathology, Penn State College of Medicine, Hershey, PA, USA.


Zebrafish have become a widely used model organism in developmental biology research. In order to initiate an experimental foundation for aging studies, we have determined some basic gerontological parameters for populations of outbred zebrafish, and the golden sparse strain. Outbred zebrafish manifested a mean life span of about 42 months, with the longest living individual surviving for 66 months. The golden sparse populations had a mean life span of 36 months and a maximum longevity of 58 months. Skeletal length at death increased with age, suggestive of indeterminate growth. A common age-related phenotype was spinal curvature. Radiographic analysis excluded bony changes as the cause of the spinal curvature, suggesting muscle abnormalities as a primary mechanism. These data and a growing abundance of related biological resources suggest that the zebrafish may be a compelling model organism for studies on aging.

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