Seattle Researchers Turn to Zebrafish to Treat Heart Defects

Seattle Researchers Turn to Zebrafish to Treat Heart Defects

Source: Seattle Post-Intelligencer

Zebrafish, associated mostly with household pets rather than scientific research, may be the key to identifying optimal drug therapies to treat muscular dystrophy and congenital heart defects. Since zebrafish contain most of the same genes found in humans, researchers at Seattle Children’s are able to closely study how mutations found in these fish are similar to the ones that cause muscular dystrophy and heart defects in humans. In a process called genome editing, Children’s researcher Dr. Lisa Maves, has begun identifying which mutations are causing muscular dystrophy in humans, then engineering those mutations in the zebrafish to see what genes are disrupted and cause the disease to take precedence. “This technology has come out in the last year or two, so we’re now just beginning to engineer the fish,” said Maves, who has been studying zebrafish muscle development for 10 years.

About Seattle Children’s Research Institute

Located in downtown Seattle’s biotech corridor, Seattle Children’s Research Institute is pushing the boundaries of medical research to find cures for pediatric diseases and improve outcomes for children all over the world. Internationally recognized investigators and staff at the research institute are advancing new discoveries in cancer, genetics, immunology, pathology, infectious disease, injury prevention and bioethics, among others. As part of Seattle Children’s Hospital, the research institute brings together leading minds in pediatric research to provide patients with the best care possible. Seattle Children’s serves as the primary teaching, clinical and research site for the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Washington School of Medicine, which consistently ranks as one of the best pediatric departments in the country. For more information, visit