Fish Experiment

Over the past few days I have been running my trials for experiment that was oh so controversial last time I blogged about it. I have been placing two groups of six fish into two solutions containing 0.5% ethanol and 0.25% ethanol. I place them into the solutions for a few hours then compare grouping behaviors. I compare grouping using a computer program to take a picture of the group every minute for 30 minutes. I then use a different computer program to measure the area of the group. The fish spend approximately 10 hrs. in the ethanol solution. After that I put them in a tank with just water, the “sober tank,” overnight and start all over again in the morning.

I am hoping to observe the development of alcoholic tolerance over the course of this experiment. Other studies that I have found doing this sort of thing exposed the fish to alcohol 24/7. I am hoping to observe similar results, but limiting the exposure time to the alcohol. Whether this will happen or not I do not know. When I crunch all of the numbers next week for my report I will find out how this experiment turned out.

Gay Genes? Genetics?

While reading Jonathan Weiner’s book – Time, Love, Memory, I ran across several topics that are quite controversial. I thought that the book did an excellent job of presenting the science of these subjects while remaining neutral. One such topic is the genetic component of homosexuality. Studies have shown a tenative link between certain genes and homosexuality. Other studies have shown no such link. The thing about genetics is that genes interact with one another in very complex ways. It has taken decades to work out the mechanism of genes involved in circadian rhythm, and new discoveries are still being made. Working out the genetic component of homosexualiy is going to be difficult, and until more is known about how genes influence sexual orientation I am going to withhold judgment as to how much of a role they play.


While reading the book Time, Love, Memory I ran across the phrase, time-blind. It was used in the context of saying that without clock genes, genes that define our circadian rythm, we would be time-blind. Is this possible, are there people who have no concept of the passage of time?

Mulifunction drugs.

While I would love to devote all of my time to neurobiology, I do have other classes that require my attention. In one of those classes I am writing a research paper on tuberculosis. While researching tuberculosis I began wondering if there were any strange cases where tuberculosis has neurobiological effects. A google search brought me to this article. While this is not exactly what I was looking for, it did pique my interest. It seems like drugs taken for one thing end up treating another as well. In Biochemistry we recently had to read an article about how the obesity drug Orlistat is a possible cancer treatment. I just wonder how people first begin to realize that a drug taken for one thing affects other areas as well.


In biochemistry this past week we have been learning about the immune system. This lead me to do a google scholar search on neurobiological diseases. This search turned up a large number of articles on Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s, and Huntington’s disease, which casused me to form the hypothesis that neurological disorders onset are typically later in life (post 40’s). Is my hypothesis way of mark or is there some truth to it?

Even more fish.

Sorry about that last post. I am still trying to figure out how to format this blog correctly. Here are links to the abstracts of the articles I used to design my experiment. Admittedly I played up the sophomoric college student part a bit. Apparently a bit too much. To answer a few concerns about this experiment, the fish are not likely to die. I would never preform an experiment that was cruel or served no purpose other than my own personal enjoyment. While, it is not likely that I will have any groundbreaking results, I hope to further my own personal research experience and possibly recreate some fairly important biomedical research. Drinks like a fish and the second article Ethanol effects on three strains of zebrafish

More Fish

There are those who have questioned the reason for getting fish drunk. I could stumble through the explanation and make the issue much more confusing than it has to be, or I could just post a few of research articles I used to design my experiment.

Gerlai, R., Lahav, M., Guo, S., Rosenthal, A. 2001. Drinks Like a fish: zebra fish (Danio rerio) as a behavior genetic model to study alcohol effects. Pharmacology, Biochemistry and Behavior. 67:773-782

Dlugos, C.A., Rabin, R.A., 2003. Ethanol effects on three strains of zebrafish: model system for genetic investigations. Pharmacology, Biochemistry, and Behavior. 74:471-780

Drunk fish?

While I am a college student and enjoy the occasional alcoholic beverage, I have never tried to get any other species drunk. Until now. As some of my classmates may have previously stated, we have to design and implement some sort of neurobiological experiment. I will be testing the alcohol tollerace of zebra fish, testing reactions and behaviors after cronic exposure to various concentrations of alcohol. Perhaps after this experiment I will test my own reactions and behaviors after being constantly smashed for two weeks.


Today in Neurobiology the topic of migraines and headaches was brought up. There was a question raised that wasn’t able to be answered adequately, and that question was, “Why do we experience the sensation of pain inside our skulls during a headache despite the fact that there are no nerves there?” Is there any primary research on this subject?