Zebrafish are a logical subject choice in the study of neural development for many scientists. They develop rapidly and both fertilization and development take place outside of the mother. The transparency of their embryos and larvae makes it easy to simply look under a microscope and assess their development in detail. With video-microscopy and video-analysis based software, this job becomes a lot less tedious and laborious.
With the first spontaneous movements taking place as early as 17 hours post-fertilization and swimming behavior occuring after 27 hours, zebrafish embryos prove to be a good model for the study of development of locomotor activity. They are also easily pharmacologically manipulated because they readily take up substances from their surrounding environment. (McKeown et al., 2009)
How zebrafish embryos react to the manipulation of certain compounds (e.g. Ahmad et al., 2012) is measured by the kind of activity they show. Behaviors such as tail flicks, coiling, burst movement can characterize their response.
It is fairly easy to detect the embryos and record this activity with video analysis based software such as DanioScope. This is a software program that will automatically detect the embryos in a video file image and automatically record their activity.
McKeown, K.A.; Downes, G.B.; Hutson, L.D. (2009). Modular laboratory exercises to analyze the development of zebrafish motor behavior. Zebrafish, 6(2), 179-185.
Ahmad, F.; Noldus, L.P.J.J.; Tegelenbosch, R.A.J.; Richardson, M.K. (2012) Zebrafish embryos and larvae in behavioural assays. Behaviour, 149, 1241-1281.