This material is from the 4th edition of The Zebrafish Book. The 5th edition is available in print and within the ZFIN Protocol Wiki.


Fin Amputations

(Source: S. Johnson)
Zebrafish fins may be amputated for a number of purposes, including screening individual fish for molecular, genetic or biochemical markers, or for studying the regeneration of the fin. Fins regenerate within a few weeks, if amputated correctly.

The caudal fin is the easiest to amputate. Anesthetize the fish briefly in tricaine (MS222, see RECIPES, Chapter 10). Pick up the anesthetized fish with a plastic spoon and place on the index finger of one of your hands. Slide a pair of scissors between your finger and the fin and cut. Return the fish to fresh water. Place the fin in the appropriate tube.

The caudal fin will regenerate after amputation up to the level where the scales extend from the body. For most regeneration studies, it is best to cut the fin half way between where the scales end and the tip of the fin. If the fin is cut more anterior than the scales, regeneration is unreliable, either failing completely, or resulting in abnormally shaped regenerates. The anal and dorsal fins are also easy to amputate, but their regeneration is less reliable than the caudal fin. The pectoral and ventral fins seem to regenerate reliably, but are more difficult to remove and to observe on swimming fish during regeneration.

The Zebrafish Book