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Gifts from the sea

their nerves through relatively small openings in the skull.

The human vestibular (balance) system relies on fluid-filled ear canals that tell us which end is up. The toadfish vestibular system is similar enough to the human version to make comparisons meaningful but with an easier to explore nerve layout. MBL researchers have used the toadfish as a model for research into neurotransmission; certain hearing and balance disorders, including Meniere's disease; and motion sickness and dizziness.

Surf clam (Spisula solidissima): Surf clam eggs are popular among scientists studying cell division and the proteins associated with it. Female clams are fertile from May to July, and millions of eggs can be harvested from a single female. By inducing the clam eggs to undergo cell division at the same time, scientists can study millions of cells in the same stage of division. Clam eggs are also transparent, providing a perfect window on biology in action. MBL scientists studying surf clams have made discoveries that may be critical to understanding diseases such as cancer; progeria, a disease that causes children to age unusually quickly; and muscular dystrophy.

For a list of MBL researchers and the organisms they use, or for further information on summer research and education at the MBL, please contact Gina Hebert at 508-289-7725.


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Source:Marine Biological Laboratory


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