Saturday, August 8, 2009


A research team at Seattle’s University of Washington is experimenting with zebrafish as a way to understand how to replace human hair cells – one of the most common reasons for hearing loss. The freshwater fish have clusters of hair cells outside of its body to sense water vibrations. Somehow, zebrafish are able to regenerate their damaged hair cells. If researchers can unlock those secrets, it could mean many people could have their hearing restored. So far, they’ve identified genetic mutations and chemicals that seemed to protect hair cells from damage. Those findings are in the journal PLoS Genetics.