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Ultra-small, durable, low-cost ID tags called p-Chips are at the center of PharmaSeq’s innovative small-animal tagging system. Each p-Chip, measuring a mere 500 x 500 x 100 μm, carries a unique ID number that cannot be replicated. p-Chips are highly stable and chemically inert, and they have excellent resilience to physical extremes. After implantation, the p-Chip and its ID number are read when the chip is passed under the laser light of a PharmaSeq ID reader.

The zebrafish is a model organism widely used in a variety of life science disciplines, including ecology, oncology, and developmental biology. With PharmaSeq’s p-Chip technology, researchers now have, for the first time, a fast, affordable and permanent method to tag and identify multiple zebrafish individuals housed together in a single tank. This can result in savings with respect to time and money in capital equipment, as well as in tank maintenance costs.

The cost of implementing a basic p-Chip system is surprisingly affordable. Please click here for pricing details or contact us for a quote at or (732) 355-0100. We will be happy to discuss your specific needs and provide an estimate.

Tagging Protocol and ID Readout System

Location of p-Chip. Picture: courtesy of Dr. Chen-Hui Chen, Duke University.Duke University Medical Center has developed a p-Chip tagging protocol specifically for zebrafish. After 16 weeks, p-Chip-tagged zebrafish, had a 96% chip-retention rate (n = 26), with no observable impact on their health.

To tag a zebrafish with a p-Chip, first remove the animal from the tank and sedate with 0.4 mg/mL Tricaine or equivalent. Once the fish has stopped moving, hold and position the individual using your thumb, index, and middle fingers, facing the head toward you. Insert the p-Chip into one side of the dorsal trunk using a pre-loaded, single-use PharmaSeq injector. We recommend that the location of insertion remain consistent across animals to facilitate subsequent tag reading. The fish can be reintroduced to a tank immediately after implantation.

To read a p-Chip, remove the zebrafish from the tank and sedate. Visually identify the p-Chip, and then place the chip in close proximity to the ID reader.

Key Points

PharmaSeq’s p-Chip system is a valuable new solution for tagging and tracking individual zebrafish. Each p-Chip is exceptionally small in size and weight and carries a unique ID that cannot be replicated. The chips are stable, chemically inert and resilient to physical extremes. The p-Chip tagging system eliminates the need to physically isolate animals, and it is functional 24 hours per day, 7 days per week. Plus, the system eliminates the potential for human data entry and transcription errors.

The technology can also be implemented in other small animals, including mice, honey bees, fleas, spiders and fruit flies.



  1. Chen C, Durand E, Wang J, Zon LI, Poss KD (2013) zebraflash transgenic lines for in vivo bioluminescence imaging of stem cells and regeneration in adult zebrafish. Development, 140, 4988-4997.