19 November 2019

Zebrafish learning skills may be unrelated to anxiety levels and brain lateralization

Colour Discrimination Task Miletto Petrazzini Et Al Symmetry Nov 2019

A new paper published in symmetry this month uses the Zantiks AD units to test the impact of brain lateralization and anxiety-like behaviour on the learning skills of zebrafish.

Using the Zantiks AD unit, Miletto Petrazzini et al. were able to administer hundreds of trials for each individual in a visual discrimination task, as well as measure scototaxis all in the same system. While only a third of their subjects learned the 2 choice colour discrimination (red v. yellow & green v. blue), no correlation was found between the fishes’ accuracy in the visual discrimination task and the degree of lateralization (detour test) nor anxiety levels (light/dark test).

The lack of correlation found suggests that neither anxiety levels nor brain lateralization are related to performance in a Skinner box. Both of these findings could help identify genes associated with cognitive/learning skills and not the genes underlying anxiety traits or associated with brain lateralization.

The Zantiks AD unit is a proven automated operant conditioning experimental system for adult zebrafish, and similar sized fish. The same unit is also used with other animals, such as Xenopus, as well as with mice in experiments such as the Two-choice discrimination task.

The Impact of Brain Lateralization and Anxiety-Like Behaviour in an Extensive Operant Conditioning Task in Zebrafish (Danio rerio)