National Geographic News

A newly bred see-through goldfish may cut out the need for dissections, scientists say.

Photograph courtesy Yutaka Tamaru

Christine Dell'Amore

National Geographic News

January 13, 2010

High school students wary of dissection may be in the clear, thanks to a newly bred see-through goldfish.

To create the translucent creature, scientists at Japan's Mie University and Nagoya University crossbred fish that had defects in the gene that regulates pigment, or color.

The resulting mutant fish's organs are all plainly visible, Yutaka Tamaru, a life science researcher at Mie University, said via email.

Tamaru said the fish could act both as a living textbook in biology classes and as a tool for medical researchers.

For instance, scientists could watch in real time how an animal's organs develop. They could also get an inside view of how diseases, particularly tumors, progress in the body.

"As this goldfish grows bigger, you can watch its whole life," Tamaru said.

The translucence doesn't harm the goldfish or shorten its life span, he added.

Announced in December, the goldfish joins a see-through frog, bred in 2007, and two other species of transparent fish previously cultivated by science.

--Christine Dell'Amore


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