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Curr Biol. 2010 Apr 27;20(8):R371-81. doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2010.02.039.

Circuit neuroscience in zebrafish.

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Friedrich Miescher Institute for Biomedical Research, Maulbeerstr. 66, CH-4058 Basel, Switzerland.


A central goal of modern neuroscience is to obtain a mechanistic understanding of higher brain functions under healthy and diseased conditions. Addressing this challenge requires rigorous experimental and theoretical analysis of neuronal circuits. Recent advances in optogenetics, high-resolution in vivo imaging, and reconstructions of synaptic wiring diagrams have created new opportunities to achieve this goal. To fully harness these methods, model organisms should allow for a combination of genetic and neurophysiological approaches in vivo. Moreover, the brain should be small in terms of neuron numbers and physical size. A promising vertebrate organism is the zebrafish because it is small, it is transparent at larval stages and it offers a wide range of genetic tools and advantages for neurophysiological approaches. Recent studies have highlighted the potential of zebrafish for exhaustive measurements of neuronal activity patterns, for manipulations of defined cell types in vivo and for studies of causal relationships between circuit function and behavior. In this article, we summarize background information on the zebrafish as a model in modern systems neuroscience and discuss recent results.

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