PerspectiveDevelopmental Biology

Rocks That Roll Zebrafish

Science  10 Oct 2003:
Vol. 302, Issue 5643, pp. 241-242
DOI: 10.1126/science.1091171

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The vestibular organs of the inner ear of higher vertebrates control balance, and their counterparts in fish control both balance and hearing. Essential to the operation of these sensory organs are the biomineralized structures--otoconia in higher vertebrates or otoliths in fish--that deflect the sensory hair bundles situated beneath them. In her Perspective, Fekete explores the fascinating world of otolith biomineralization in zebrafish; revealing the importance of a protein called Starmaker for coordinating the shape and type of crystal in fish otoliths ( Söllner et al.).