Fast Automated DNA Extraction for Live Zebrafish Embryos

know your fish

The Problem

“Despite the widespread use of zebrafish, automated research tools for working with zebrafish embryos have not developed at the same pace as the research methodologies… Currently for genotyping, embryos are grown to adult age (two to three months) before manual fin clipping. Fin clipping requires a trained technician four to six hours to prepare cells and genotype 96 fish; as well as the effort and expenses of raising more adult fish than may be ultimately needed.

Alternatively, zebrafish embryos or larvae can be sacrificed and genotyped. If individual animals need to be distinctly genotyped this is even more laborious, and obviously additional testing or use of the animals is not possible.” -Lambert et al., 2018 (PlosOne)

The wFluidx Solution

The Zebrafish Embryonic Genotyper (ZEG) is an automated microfluidic system that extracts

genetic material from live zebrafish embryos. The genetic material can then be used for downstream DNA amplification, identification, and analysis.

Benefits of ZEG:

  • Rapid extraction, 96 embryos can be sampled in an hour

  • The sampling process is non-destructive - embryos can be sampled, and then be raised to adulthood.

  • Efficient use of fish husbandry resources

  • Robust to detecting different genotypes

  • The ZEG is simple to use, with few moving parts – it does not require investment in training personnel or purchasing expensive capital equipment

  • Offers a significant savings of time and money – Zebrafish can be sampled at the embryonic stage and can be sampled in a fraction of the time required by fin-clipping.

  • Makes possible experiments and screening strategies on a scale and on timeframes that are not possible with current technology

ZEG research & development has been funded by the National Institutes of Health, USA with strong

collaboration with zebrafish labs around the globe. The ZEG is a critical tool that can add value

to the efforts of research teams that rely on zebrafish models.

ZEG's Technical Specifications & Capabilities

  • Footprint is 6 x 6 inches (approx.)

  • Extracts genetic material from 96 embryos (~ 72 hpf) within an hour

  • Genotyping sensitivity > 80 %

  • Embryo survivability > 90 %

  • Embryos processed by ZEG can be raised to adulthood

  • ​Extracted genetic material can be identified using gel electrophoresis, HRMA (high resolution melting analysis), and Sequencing

  • No observed effects on embryos' morphology, or behavior at 7 dpf (after processed by ZEG at 72 hpf)


Learn more about ZEG and our other products


Learn more about wFluidx and how we got started.


Read our PLUS ONE article or see presentations given by ZEG users.

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Contact us at or see our contact page below

Address: Suite 211B, 419 Wakara Way, Salt Lake City, UT, USA

©2018 by wFluidx