Cataracts are a common eye lens clouding problem often brought on by old age. The usual remedy is surgery but with the help of some tiny fish, that may change.
Scientists have been studying the lens of the eye of zebra fish and specifically proteins called alpha crystallins. These act as a clean up system in the lens by absorbing aging and sick proteins in the lens brought on by old age, UV damage, and pollutants.
When scientists disturbed the expression of these alpha crystallin genes in the eye lens of zebra fish, the result was cataracts, but when they introduced rat alpha crystallins the cataracts cleared. So those tiny striped fish in the pet store are proving to be much more than just a pet, but more a models for many diseases and another bio med animal hero.