You don’t have to be a parent to know that babies poop, and they poop a lot. But this isn’t true for the one in every 5,000 babies are affected by an inherited condition known as Hirschsprung’s disease, sometimes caused by a faulty version of a gene called Sox10. It affects the development of nerves that trigger the muscles of the gut to push poop along its journey from mouth to nappy, leading to constipation and inflammation. Scientists have turned to zebrafish as a handy laboratory model for studying the condition in more detail. Both of these fish were first fed food labelled with a harmless green fluorescent dye, then given a red-stained meal. By the next morning, a healthy fish (top) has got rid of its green meal and is working through the red one. But a fish with faulty Sox10 (bottom) is still stuck on the green one.
Written by Kat Arney
BPoD stands for Biomedical Picture of the Day. Managed by the MRC London Institute of Medical Sciences (the new name for the MRC Clinical Sciences Centre) the website aims to engage everyone, young and old, in the wonders of biomedicine. Images are kindly provided for inclusion on this website through the generosity of scientists across the globe.