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Meet the Casper Fish

The Casper fish, a transparent zebra fish (Danio), was developed at the Children’s Hospital Boston for use in cancer research. Casper fish are the result of a cross between 2 mutant zebra fish, nacre and roy, that produce offspring with transparent skin and scales. These transparent tissues allow scientists to see how cancerous cells spread through the fish’s body as it grows and develops. This will help scientists understand how cancer may behave in the human body during

Many researchers use zebra fish for genetic and developmental studies. Zebra fish make model research organisms since they are vertebrates and their embryonic development is similar to human embryonic development. This means that you can easily view their internal organs, including the heart, gallbladder, circulatory system, brain, spine, eggs in females, and the swim bladder in males.

The benefits Casper and zebra fish bring to the research laboratory also make them ideal specimens for the science classroom. Especially Casper fish—they give students the opportunity to observe the internal anatomy of a live organism in real time. With a stereomicroscope, students can observe physiological parameters such as heart rate, respiration, and blood flow.

Carolina currently offers 2 kits in 2 versions each for the science classroom that feature adult Casper and zebra fish: the Casper Fish Observation Kits, recommended for students in grades K–4, and the Anatomy and Physiology of Casper Fish Kits, recommended for students in grades 5–12. Kits are available in 2 versions: a basic kit that does not include an aquarium and accessories and a deluxe kit that does.

Basic kits are a cost-effective way for classrooms with established aquariums to study Casper fish and the deluxe kits are great for starting from scratch. Either version will give your students the extraordinary opportunity to observe the internal anatomy of a live organism in real time. To learn more about Casper fish, and the other freshwater fish we offer, see our Carolina™ Science catalog.

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