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Although aquarium enthusiasts have long known the zebrafish from its
ubiquity in pet stores, this small tropical fish entered the
scientific limelight only in the past decade. Yet in that short
period, more than 4,000 scientists have come to focus their
attention on the biology of Danio rerio. Because their
transparent embryos develop within see-through eggs outside the
mother’s body, zebrafish permit scientists to follow the
formation of tissues and organs in microscopic detail as the
organism grows. Thus this small Indian fish may be the key to
understanding how vertebrates, including human beings, develop.
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