Date of Submission

Spring 2016

Academic Programs and Concentrations


Project Advisor 1

Michael Tibbetts

Abstract/Artist's Statement

Deafness or hearing impairment could develop for a variety of results. It can be hereditary or can be a result of auditory hair cell loss or death in the ears. A normal healthy human ear has about 16,000 hair cells in the cochlea. The auditory hair cells are extremely sensitive and can be damaged through excessive stimulation or simply old age. The damage done to the hair cells cannot be corrected in mammals because they do not regenerate, meaning that they are not replaced with new hair cells, consequently leading to permanent deafness in mammals. However, in other vertebrates we observe a replacement of the auditory hair cell lost shortly after trauma. In fish and amphibians, hair cell regeneration takes place in the lateral line, which shares similar aspects of tissue structure and organization to the human ear (Jason R. Meyers and Jeffrey T. Corwin.)

Past studies have found a gene, phoenix, to be imperative in hair cell regeneration of the lateral line of zebrafish (Danio rerio) after damage. My research investigates if phoenix plays a role in the initial development of the lateral line. The phoenix gene was knocked down using Morpholino Oligonucleotides in fertilized eggs and initial development of the lateral line was observed. The morphant larvae’s lateral line was compared to that of wild-type zebrafish. Additionally, maternal effect in the initial development of the lateral line would be observed if the morphant larvae developed morphologically intact lateral line.

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