Automated staging of zebrafish embryos using machine learning

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The zebrafish (<ns4:italic>Danio rerio</ns4:italic>), is an important biomedical model organism used in many disciplines, including development, disease modeling and toxicology, to better understand vertebrate biology. The phenomenon of developmental delay in zebrafish embryos has been widely reported as part of a mutant or treatment-induced phenotype, and accurate characterization of such delays is imperative. Despite this, the only way at present to identify and quantify these delays is through manual observation, which is both time-consuming and subjective. Machine learning approaches in biology are rapidly becoming part of the toolkit used by researchers to address complex questions. In this work, we introduce a machine learning-based classifier that has been trained to detect temporal developmental differences across groups of zebrafish embryos. Our classifier is capable of rapidly analyzing thousands of images, allowing comparisons of developmental temporal rates to be assessed across and between experimental groups of embryos. Finally, as our classifier uses images obtained from a standard live-imaging widefield microscope and camera set-up, we envisage it will be readily accessible to the zebrafish community, and prove to be a valuable resource.

Journal details

Volume 7
Pages 275-275
Available online
Publication date