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Lighting Up Research

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Len Zon has a great secret, but I couldn’t help but focus on the zebrafish he uses in his research. The colored zebrafish reminded of something I ran across while researching my fourth-grade-level book about genes—the GloFish®.

My goodness, you’re glowing! (Courtesy

The transgenic zebrafish with its glowing colors have been genetically modified from a normal zebrafish—that is, a gene for fluorescence from a sea anemone or a jellyfish has been inserted into a zebrafish egg. The genes become part of the genetic makeup of the developing fish and as an adult, the colored zebrafish passes the modified gene to its offspring, who also are that color and continue passing the gene to their offspring. These fascinating fish are available from science suppliers and some retailers for classroom study or to keep as pets. And here’s the link to the GloFish site.

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Shirley Duke

    Shirley Duke writes for children in a variety of genres. She is the author of a picture book, “No Bows!,” a YA novel, “Unthinkable,” and most recently, two science books, “Infections, Infestations, and Disease” and “You Can’t Wear These Genes.” She’s written commissioned novels, teacher guides, and teen magazine articles. She taught science and ESL in public schools for twenty-five years at the elementary, middle, and high school levels. She holds degrees in Biology and Education. She’s on a TWU book review committee and blogs weekly about books and science ideas at SimplyScience. Shirley is excited about science and loves NOVA.