Thursday, September 19, 2013

Background of the study

The research focus of Dr. Robison’s lab is to understand the underlying genetic component of behavioral adaptation to captivity. He had observed that zebrafish populations that were raised in captivity for several generations displayed ‘bold’ behaviors relative to their wild counterparts (recently collected from native habitat in West Bengal, India) that displayed ‘shy’ or anxious behaviors. Specifically, domesticated zebrafish spent a significantly greater proportion of time swimming toward the front and top of their tanks (close to a human observer and potential predation) and fed quickly at the surface of the water, whereas the wild fish preferred swimming locations close to the bottom and back of their tanks (as far from a human observer and potential predation as possible) and took longer to feed at the surface, if they fed at all. At the time, Dr. Robison was using zebrafish as a model for understanding the occurrence of behavioral domestication in hatchery-raised salmon that was resulting from hatchery practices which have since been reformed.

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