Now I know how a Mormon or Scientologist or Baptist feels when some heathen tries to earnestly explain their religion. This video is well done, but gives me a bit of the heebie-jeebies.
I started working on zebrafish in 1979 (I wasn’t the first, or even particularly close — that honor goes to the crew in George Streisinger’s lab), and all through the 80s our lab group had a reputation: at every meeting in every talk, we’d recite what was called the Zebrafish Litany, a listing of all the virtues of this quirky new model organism that nobody else knew much about. In fact, at the Friday Harbor lab meetings in developmental biology there was a kind of tradition where the students would linger in the auditorium late at night and mock the speakers and professors with imitations on the podium, and one year a group made fun of us by having a series of students march robotically to the lectern and recite the exact same series of words. And those words are in this video. How dare the unbelievers speak our catechism!
The video doesn’t quite capture the true nature of the Cult of Danio, though. Everything in it is about how zebrafish research contributes to the study of human diseases, which is a nice perk of the system, but we study the fish because the fish are fascinating, not because we are wannabe human disease researchers. Also, the part where he explains the flaws of the zebrafish, that they have many duplicated genes (so do we) and that they have unique genes not found in humans? Those aren’t flaws.
It is nice to see, though, that our orison is now part of the general public awareness of the zebrafish. That’s why we were saying it so often. Soon, you too shall be a believer. All praise George!