A Lifespan Atlas of the Zebrafish

Zebrafish (Danio rerio) have become an increasingly popular genetic model over the past twenty years. In our lab we use the zebrafish for cancer research, and it is the basis for this histological atlas. The atlas spans the life of the zebrafish from embryo to adult and contains sections of tissue from three anatomical planes (sagittal, coronal, and transverse).

adult wild-type zebrafish
Adult, wild-type zebrafish (Danio rerio)

The Zebrafish Atlas contains 2- and 3-dimensional, anatomical reference slides of zebrafish to support research and education worldwide. Hematoxylin & eosin histological slides, at various points in the lifespan of the zebrafish, have been scanned at 40x resolution and are available through a virtual slide viewer.

The size of the zebrafish, which allows sections to fall conveniently within the dimensions of the common 1" x 3" glass slide, makes it possible for this anatomical atlas to become as high resolution as for any vertebrate. That resolution, together with the integration of histology and organ anatomy, will create unique opportunities for comparisons with both smaller and larger model systems that each have their own strengths in research and educational value. The atlas team is working to allow the site to function as a scaffold for collaborative research and educational activity across disciplines and model organisms.

zebrafish tissue section


Virtual slide technology enables users to view high resolution imagery with a significantly reduced download time. Virtual slides are panned and zoomed in a manner similar to a traditional microscope but offer labeling, comparison, and collaborative possibilities beyond the limitations of physical microscopy.