Recently, scientists discovered that a protein found in Zebrafish can regenerate aged discs in human vertebrae.



  • A study by Agharkar Research Institute (ARI), Pune, an autonomous institute of the Department of Science and Technology, discovered that a protein called Cellular communication network factor 2a (Ccn2a) secreted from intervertebral disc cells induces disc regeneration in aged degenerated discs in humans.
  • It is done by promoting cell proliferation and cell survival by modulating the pathway called the FGFR1-SHH (Fibroblast growth factor receptor-Sonic Hedgehog) pathway.


What are the key facts about Zebrafish?

  • It is a small (2-3 cm long) freshwater fish found in tropical and subtropical regions. The fish is native to South Asia’s Indo-Gangetic plains, where they are mostly found in the paddy fields and even in stagnant water and streams.
  • It attracts developmental biologists due to its adequate regeneration capacity of almost all its organs, including the brain, heart, eye, and spinal cord.
  • It has a similar genetic structure (around 70%) to humans.
  • IUCN Red List Status: Least concerned.