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Study reveals how zebra fish get their stripes

Study reveals how zebra fish get their stripes

Science
Aug. 13 (UPI) -- Every zebra fish begins life as a transparent embryo. Almost all of them end up with stripes. Now, researchers know why. Scientists at Ohio State University developed a mathematical model that describes the organization of the zebra fish's three types of pigment cells. "It's amazing that you have these individual cells that can sort themselves into these reliable patterns," Alexandria Volkening, a postdoctoral fellow at Ohio State's Mathematical Biosciences Institute, said in a news release. "The cells move around on the skin to create stripes. It's like individual birds that know how to flock together and fly in formation." The research, published this week in the journal Nature Communications, suggests the pigment cell sorting process is orchestrated by iridophores. Th...
Ancient fish fossils reveal origin of the vertebrate skeleton

Ancient fish fossils reveal origin of the vertebrate skeleton

Science
July 31 (UPI) -- New X-ray images of ancient fish fossils have helped scientists solve a 160-year-old mastery about the origins of the vertebrate skeleton. Heterostracans are a group of fossil fishes that lived 400 million years ago. The heterostracan fossil record has offered the oldest evidence of mineralized skeletons among vertebrates. But scientists have struggled to determine what type of tissue heterostracan skeleton's were made of. Bone, cartilage, dentine and enamel all mineralize as they develop, gaining strength and rigidity. But millions of years later, these fossilized tissues are difficult to distinguish -- until now. Scientists at the universities of Manchester and Bristol used CT scanning technology, featuring high energy X-rays, to image the internal structure of heterost...
For reef fish, tolerance for warming waters comes from their parents' DNA

For reef fish, tolerance for warming waters comes from their parents' DNA

Science
May 1 (UPI) -- New research suggests reef fish can inherit the genetic tools to adapt to rising water temperatures.In lab tests, scientists found the offspring of parents who were exposed to water temperatures increases were better able to adapt water temperatures increases than fish spawned by parents exposed to stable temperatures."When parents are exposed to an increase in water temperature, we found that their offspring improved their performance in these otherwise stressful conditions by selectively modifying their epigenome," Philip Munday, researcher with the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies and James Cook University, said in a news release.Epigenetic changes in the DNA are biochemical changes that alter the expression of genes, causing certain genes to be turned on o...
Fish farming can help relieve pressures on land resources, study shows

Fish farming can help relieve pressures on land resources, study shows

Science
April 30 (UPI) -- As population growth accelerates in much of the world, demands for meat are putting added pressure on natural resources. New research suggests some of the pressure can be relieved by fish farming.Scientists with the United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organization estimate an additional 10 billion people will be hungry for protein by 2050 and that a 52 percent increase in animal production will be required to meet their needs.According to the latest calculations by researchers at the University of California, Santa Barbara, if those protein needs are met with an increase in farmed aquatic animals, humans can conserve land. Recent studies have suggested as much as 75 percent of the planet's land and soil has already been significantly degraded."While aquaculture can add s...
Ocean-going robot fish blends in with aquatic life

Ocean-going robot fish blends in with aquatic life

Technology
Scientists have developed a soft robotic fish that they can control with sound to swim beside real fish in the ocean.The fish - named SoFi - was made from silicon rubber by researchers at MIT's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL).It swims by wagging its hydraulic-pump powered tail and controls its own buoyancy using special foam which allows it to dive or rise to the surface.SoFi, which was supported by the US National Science Foundation, was developed to be dexterous enough to swim beneath corals and has a camera allowing the researchers to see what is right in front of it.The electronics that control it are stored inside its head, although a remote controller is also available to allow a diver to control the fish underwater using ultrasonic signals.Image:The r...