Fisheries and Wildlife 1100
12 February 2013
“What Can Fish Tell Us About Hearing?” by Tatjana Piotrowski
The purpose of this seminar was to show the advancement and studies that are
being made to better understand the damage and regeneration of the hair cells in human
ears. Fish, amphibians, and chicks all have hair cells that are similar to human ear hair
cells but they have the ability to regenerate after they are damaged. The lab that Dr.
Piotrowski works in is studying these problems by observing the behavior of these hair
follicles that fish, specifically zebrafish have on the outside of their bodies to
communicate with their surroundings. Though the hair follicles are not the exact same
and they are used for different functions, they are similar enough to study and relate the
two. One thing observed is that antibiotics kill the hair cells in both humans and the fish.
However, when the hair cells of the fish are damaged they can be regenerated in as little
as fifteen hours.
The two main methods that are used to study the fish are Mutagenesis Screens and
gene expression analysis. With mutagenesis screening random mutations in sperm are
induced with chemicals. Then, the researchers look for mutant embryos that have
regeneration defects and they can try to figure out the problem. With gene expression
analysis the goal is to try to determine the genes that are turned on to replace the hair
cells. They do this by killing hair c