A High-Throughput and Inexpensive Assay for Anxiety-Related Behaviors in the Zebrafish, Based on Place Preference and Latency to Feed

  • Barrie D. RobisonEmail author
  • Maia J. Benner
  • Matthew L. Singer
  • Mary E. Oswald
Part of the Neuromethods book series (NM, volume 66)


In this protocol, we describe a high-throughput and inexpensive assay for anxiety-related behaviors in zebrafish. The behavioral observations occur while fish are housed individually in 1-L tanks commonly found in commercial zebrafish rearing systems. Behavioral indices include orientation to the observer and to the surface of the water, as well as latency to begin feeding. We demonstrate that the procedure produces highly repeatable data with sufficient statistical power to detect relatively subtle differences in behavior. This protocol is suitable for labs engaged in genetic analysis of quantitative trait variation and analysis of large numbers of mutagenized animals. It may also prove useful for pharmacogenomic experiments in which individual identity (genotype) is correlated to clinical response. The protocol is synergistic with other experimental paradigms, including computer-assisted tracking, measurement of stress hormones, and dietary administration of nutritional and drug treatments.

Key words

Anxiety Place preference Behavioral genetics Zebrafish 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Barrie D. Robison
    • 1
    Email author
  • Maia J. Benner
    • 1
  • Matthew L. Singer
    • 1
  • Mary E. Oswald
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Biological SciencesUniversity of IdahoMoscowUSA

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