While rodents far outnumber any other research model in use today, zebrafish are rapidly gaining ground among scientists studying human diseases such as skin cancer, narcolepsy and muscular conditions. The zebrafish's transparent body, rapid reproduction rate and low cost of maintenance make it an attractive research model. "More labs are building aquariums," said Duke University geneticist Nico Katsanis, who studies rare human diseases using zebrafish. "The number that use zebrafish is going up hyper-exponentially."

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