$1.5M grant will fund Michigan State study of electric fish

EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) – Michigan State University researchers have received a $1.5 million grant to study the genetics of electric fish.

The fish can generate electric fields in the water outside their bodies.

Scientists have long used them for neurological studies. More recently, they’ve developed information about the fishes’ genetic codes that could make them helpful models for a broader range of medical research, just as mice, zebrafish and fruit flies are used.

Biologist Jason Gallant says he’s trying to kick-start programs for investigating the connection between genes encoded in the DNA of electric fish and the physical expression of traits encoded by those genes.

He says developing genetic tools for monitoring and manipulating gene activity in electric fish would enable their use to address fundamental questions of biology.

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