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Mol Cells. 2016 Oct;39(10):750-755. Epub 2016 Oct 31.

Innate Color Preference of Zebrafish and Its Use in Behavioral Analyses.

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Department of Biology, Chungnam National University, Daejeon 34134, Korea.
Comparative Biomedicine Research Branch, National Cancer Center, Goyang 10408, Korea.
Division of Structural and Functional Genomics, Center for Genome Science, National Research Institute of Health, Osong 28159, Korea.


Although innate color preference of motile organisms may provide clues to behavioral biases, it has remained a longstanding question. In this study, we investigated innate color preference of zebrafish larvae. A cross maze with different color sleeves around each arm was used for the color preference test (R; red, G; green, B; blue, Y; yellow). The findings showed that 5 dpf zebrafish larvae preferred blue over other colors (B > R > G > Y). To study innate color recognition further, tyrosinase mutants were generated using CRISPR/Cas9 system. As a model for oculocutaneous albinism (OCA) and color vision impairment, tyrosinase mutants demonstrated diminished color sensation, indicated mainly by hypopigmentation of the retinal pigment epithelium (RPE). Due to its relative simplicity and ease, color preference screening using zebrafish larvae is suitable for high-throughput screening applications. This system may potentially be applied to the analysis of drug effects on larval behavior or the detection of sensory deficits in neurological disorder models, such as autism-related disorders, using mutant larvae generated by the CRISPR/Cas9 technique.


autism; behavioral analysis; color blindness; color preference; zebrafish

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