HomePLANTS & ANIMALSOxytocin determines social behaviour of fish

Oxytocin determines social behaviour of fish

Weizmann Institute of Science researchers have solved a part of a riddle of how social behaviour is connected with our developing brain, by studying zebrafish.

Zebrafish is a good sample for studying the basis of human behaviour as they do not get any nurturing from parents.

When a zebrafish is four weeks of age and a centimetre-long, it starts to socialize. Zebrafish have a tendency to swim together as a group. Like humans, zebrafish too seek company. Zebrafish have certain advantages for staying in a group, such as searching for food, overcoming currents and avoiding predators. Zebrafish need processing of visual and social cues, much like a human brain. Zebrafish need to feel the other fish as their own other than predatory species.

The scientists have focused upon the hormone oxytocin to find out how social behaviour of zebrafish develop. Hormone oxytocin is an important neurochemical that develop social interactions. Scientists have created a system to explore the various effects of oxytocin on the zebrafish’s developing brain.

They have produced a transgenic larva of zebrafish. Inserted oxytocin-making neurons that had a bacterial gene in order to understand fatal sensitivity. The scientists eliminated the neurons from the brains of the larvae. They added antibiotics to the water. They then observed the behaviour of the zebrafish as they became adults.

The scientists noticed the larva that did not have oxytocin, became an adult fish with an amazing capacity for social interaction. Their brains have regenerated oxytocin neurons later. This suggests that in order to become social, their brains have to be organized by oxytocin in a particular manner. This needs to be done during a critical time of brain development at the time of their birth.

Scientists also discovered mechanisms for how oxytocin primes grow in brain for socializing. 


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Latest Science News Articles - PhysicsAlert.com

explore more