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Open Access Effectiveness of Recommended Euthanasia Methods in Larval Zebrafish (Danio rerio)

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The popularity of zebrafish and its use as a model organism in biomedical research including genetics, development, and toxicology, has increased over the past 20 y and continues to grow. However, guidelines for euthanasia remain vague, and the responsibility of creating appropriate euthanasia protocols essentially falls on individual facilities. To reduce variation in experimental results among labs, a standard method of euthanasia for zebrafish would be useful. Although various euthanasia methods have been compared, few studies focus on the effectiveness of euthanasia methods for larval zebrafish. In this study, we exposed larval zebrafish to each of 3 euthanasia agents (MS222, eugenol, and hypothermic shock) and assessed the recovery rate. Hypothermic shock appeared to be the most effective method for euthanizing zebrafish at 14 d after fertilization; however, this method may not be considered an efficient method for large numbers of larval zebrafish. Exposure to chemicals, such as MS222 and eugenol, were ineffective methods for euthanasia at this stage of development. When these agents are used, secondary measures should be taken to ensure death. Choosing a euthanasia method that is effective, efficient, and humane can be challenging. Determining a method of euthanasia that is suitable for fish of all stages will bring the zebrafish community closer to meeting this challenge.

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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Charles River Laboratories, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland, USA 2: Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland, USA. [email protected]

Publication date: 01 January 2015

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  • The Journal of the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science (JAALAS) serves as an official communication vehicle for the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science (AALAS). The journal includes a section of refereed articles and a section of AALAS association news. The mission of the refereed section of the journal is to disseminate high-quality, peer-reviewed information on animal biology, technology, facility operations, management, and compliance as relevant to the AALAS membership. JAALAS accepts research reports (data-based) or scholarly reports (literature-based), with the caveat that all articles, including solicited manuscripts, must include appropriate references and must undergo peer review.

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