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Fast-Living Fish

August 21, 2018

An animal that grows up, reproduces and dies of old age in just a few weeks.



Life in the fast lake. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

African turquoise killifish eggs hatch when spring rains turn their mud homes into puddles; they then have to mate before the puddles dry up again. Biologists like Martin Reichard at the Czech Academy of Sciences found that in the lab the fish become sexually mature in about three weeks. In the journal Current Biology, he and his colleagues report fish in the wild grow up even faster: Just two weeks from egg to sexually mature adult– a world record for vertebrates, or animals with backbones.

MARTIN REICHARD (Czech Academy of Sciences):

Killifish is a fish, so it’s a vertebrate, it has blood, it has the same organs as mammals, humans. So there is a hope that alot of what we can learn from killifish could potentially be used in human medicine.


Reichard says the animal’s fast lifestyle makes it an ideal model for understanding the aging process. I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.

Story by Bob Hirshon