Bioluminescent fish for environmental detection drug testing and hobby collectors


Researchers at the University of Tennessee have developed transgenic luminescent zebrafish. The gene cassette used to create the luminescence can be engineered to express exclusively in the presence of a particular compound or pollutant in the zebrafish’s environment thus functioning as a bioluminescent environmental reporter. The zebrafish can be additionally engineered to emit light in response to elevated ammonia or nitrate levels in an aquarium or tank to signal necessary cleaning or water changes. This luminescence does not require addition of substrate and can be visualized under ordinary lighting conditions (either visually or with a luminometer) thereby providing a convenient on-site reporter. Applications: 1) Environmental aquatic biosensors (estrogens pharmaceuticals etc.) 2) Water quality monitoring for aquaculture 3) Pre-clinical drug testing 4) Hobby fish collectors Patent status: Patent pending


1) Does not require addition of substrate 2) Can be engineered to detect a large number of chemicals or toxins 3) Provides for on-site monitoring 4) Does not require a black light for viewing

Date of release