Zebrafish emerge as the best model for sleep research

A Harvard team has determined that zebrafish offer an economical and efficient animal model to test new compounds for sleep therapy. And they say that zebrafish may take a lead role in the development of new drugs for the $7 billion market, replacing traditional drug-screening methodologies.

Zebrafish are a common player in animal research. And the scientists say that after screening more than 5,000 small molecules on the larvae of zebrafish, they found 463 that influence sleep patterns. A number of the molecules are already known to have a similar effect on humans.

"We didn't expect as much conservation of the effects of drugs between humans and zebrafish," Alexander Schier, a professor of molecular and cellular biology at Harvard, tells MIT Technology Review. "This was a proof of principle that many of the pathways found in humans are conserved in fish."

- here's the story from MIT Technology Review