Purdue University biologists have learned how to control the development of stem cells in the inner ears of embryonic chickens, a discovery which could potentially improve the ability to treat human diseases that cause deafness and vertigo.
Figure 1 shows part of the cochlea in an embryonic chickens inner ear, where patches of vestibular hairs, used to detect balance, grew in place of those that detect sound waves. The arrow indicates one such patch. Figure 2 is a close-up that shows both types of inner-ear hairs, which grow in tufts in different locations. The inset shows the type that detects bodily motion, with the hairs themselves stained red and the telltale cilia that extend from motion-detecting tufts stained green.
By introducing new genes into the cell nuclei, researchers instructed the embryonic cells to develop into different adult cells than they would have ordinarily. Instead of forming the tiny hairs that the inner ear uses to detect sound waves, the stem cells matured into tissue with different kind of hairs – the sort used to keep balance. This ability to guide the choice of cell types could expand researchers knowledge of the inner ear and its disorders.
"Weve essentially switched the fate of these cells," said Donna Fekete (pronounced FEH-ka-tee), associate professor of biology in Purdues School of Science. "We now know at least one gene that determines what these embryonic ear cells will eventually become. As a result, we can control the outcome ourselves using gene transduction. Because so many people suffer from deafness later in life, we hope this research will yield treatments for them down the line."
Chad Boutin | Purdue News
New eDNA technology used to quickly assess coral reefs
18.04.2019 | University of Hawaii at Manoa
New automated biological-sample analysis systems to accelerate disease detection
18.04.2019 | Polytechnique Montréal
A stellar flare 10 times more powerful than anything seen on our sun has burst from an ultracool star almost the same size as Jupiter
A localization phenomenon boosts the accuracy of solving quantum many-body problems with quantum computers which are otherwise challenging for conventional computers. This brings such digital quantum simulation within reach on quantum devices available today.
Quantum computers promise to solve certain computational problems exponentially faster than any classical machine. “A particularly promising application is the...
The technology could revolutionize how information travels through data centers and artificial intelligence networks
Engineers at the University of California, Berkeley have built a new photonic switch that can control the direction of light passing through optical fibers...
Physicists observe how electron-hole pairs drift apart at ultrafast speed, but still remain strongly bound.
Modern electronics relies on ultrafast charge motion on ever shorter length scales. Physicists from Regensburg and Gothenburg have now succeeded in resolving a...
Engineers create novel optical devices, including a moth eye-inspired omnidirectional microwave antenna
A team of engineers at Tufts University has developed a series of 3D printed metamaterials with unique microwave or optical properties that go beyond what is...
17.04.2019 | Event News
15.04.2019 | Event News
09.04.2019 | Event News
18.04.2019 | Life Sciences
18.04.2019 | Physics and Astronomy
18.04.2019 | Life Sciences