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Fishing for a cure

San antonio Express News (06/28/2002)
By San antonio Express News Reporter

Southwest Texas State University’s Xiphophorus Genetic Stock Center received a $1.7 million grant from the National Center of Research Resources to sustain development of the Xiphophorus fish population-a collection of fish heavily used in scientific research.

The grant will help the genetic stock center to continue to distribute the pedigreed fish to investigators worldwide, including research in the fields of endocrinology, immunology, toxicology, parasitology and animal behavior.
The center’s fish is also used for cancer research with $6.3 million in funding it received in 1999 from the National Cancer Institute.

Ronald Walter, the center’s director, says the grant is important because the number of researchers using this fish model has risen sharply in the last five years.

Southwest Texas’ stock center is the only source of pedigreed Xiphophorus lines in the world.

“Once (researchers) receive the fish and assistance from the center, they will have data showing each fish’s pedigree, enabling them to perform complicated genetic experiments with relative ease,” Walter says.

With more than 1,200 aquariums containing 6,500 fish, the center furnishes researchers with more than 60 strains of this fish.

The $1.7 million grant will be paid during the next five years.

The National Center of Research Resources is a component of the National Institutes of Health.