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Autofluorescent xanthophores in zebrafish skin

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Pigment cells are cells that give skin its color. In fishes and amphibians, like frogs and salamanders, pigment cells are responsible for the characteristic skin patterns that help these organisms to blend into their surroundings or attract mates. The pigment cells are derived from neural crest cells, which are cells originating from the neural tube in the early embryo. This image shows pigment cells called xanthophores in the skin of zebrafish; the cells glow (autofluoresce) brightly under light giving the fish skin a shiny, lively appearance. Investigating pigment cell formation and migration in animals helps answer important fundamental questions about the factors that control pigmentation in the skin of animals, including humans. Related to images 5754, 5756, 5757 and 5758.


David Parichy, University of Washington

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David Parichy, University of Washington


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This page last reviewed on January 4, 2017