This study, however, was sparked by evidence of the possible benefits of inhibiting p27, particularly to aid regeneration of sensory hair
cells of the inner ear to combat hearing loss.
Beyond its findings connecting specific behaviours with genomic regions, the study also found that the same regions of the genome appear to control both the stickleback's ability to school as well as the anatomy of its lateral line, a system of organs that detect movement and vibration in water, and contain the same sensory hair
cells found in the human ear.
Together with her colleagues, she also unraveled the roles of most of the proteins encoded by these genes, namely in the sensory hair
cells, their stimulating gel, and the supporting cells, by multidisciplinary studies of engineered mouse models.
Arrays of DEAP pressure and strain sensors correctly placed for maximum efficiency mimicking functions of sensory hair
and the campaniform sensillum organ will act as tactile sensors giving feedback of contact with objects (2 on the right in Fig 1).
Regenerating the sensory hair
cells of the inner ear has been the Holy Grail of deafness research.
A team at the University of Sheffield said they had discovered how to turn stem cells into ones that behave like sensory hair
cells or auditory neurons, which could then be surgically inserted into the ear to restore lost hearing.
A British-led team has made early versions of the sensory hair
cells and neurons essential for hearing from stem cells taken from the human inner ear.
The work shows that a small number of cells can migrate to the damaged cochlea and repair sensory hair
cells and neurons.
RNID said there were ways of preventing this ototoxicity - damage to the sensory hair
cells of the inner ear caused by drugs.
As well as the affront to our mental tolerance levels, noise generates a specific onslaught on our inner ear mechanisms where any damage to the sensory hair
cells is deemed irreparable.
More than 80% of all cases of hearing loss can be attributed to the degeneration and death of sensory hair
cells and their associated spiral ganglion neurons.
Excessive noise causes hearing impairment by progressively damaging the sensory hair
cells of the cochlea.