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.
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Ranked as one of the top five children’s hospitals in the country by U.S. News & World Report, Seattle Children’s serves as the pediatric and adolescent academic medical center for Washington, Alaska, Montana and Idaho – the largest region of any children’s hospital in the country. As one of the nation's top five pediatric research centers, Seattle Children’s Research Institute is internationally recognized for its work in neurosciences, immunology, cancer, infectious disease, injury prevention and much more. Seattle Children’s Hospital and Research Foundation works with the Seattle Children’s Guild Association, the largest all-volunteer fundraising network for any hospital in the country, to gather community support and raise funds for uncompensated care and research.
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