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Zebrafish may hold key to understanding human nerve cell development

eagues discovered that during development the zebrafish is "seeded" with future hair cells through a process known as placode migration. These precursor cells, called interneuromast cells, eventually go on to make hair cells, but only when they are sufficiently far enough away from the glial-ensheathed nerve. "Once these cells are far enough away from the glia they begin to differentiate into hair cells. We know something in the glia is regulating development and acting as an inhibitory cue. It's possible that this signal could also play a role in the development of stem cells throughout the nervous system. Much more research is needed to identify this signal but we're optimistic our work has set the stage for future discoveries," said Piotrowski. The University of Utah has one of the largest zebrafish facilities in the country with more than 6,000 zebrafish tanks. In addition to Piotrowski, six other University faculty members use the fish to study various clinical disorders including leukemia, colon cancer, congenital heart defects, muscular dystrophy and other birth defects.
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Source:Eurekalert


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