Medical Research Council - London Institute of Medical Sciences

BPoD is 5

In 2017 we celebrate five years of bringing you beautiful imagery from biomedical science

Sound and Vision Week Wrong Wave
15 May 2017

Wrong Wave

Whatever noise you can hear right now is thanks to tiny ‘hairs’ inside your ears, called stereocilia. They sense vibrations caused by sound waves coming into the ear, and send nerve signals into the brain which are then interpreted as speech, song or anything else. Stereocilia are normally arranged in clumps in a regular step-like pattern, short to tall – seen here in the inner ear of a healthy baby mouse (top). But the stereocilia in mice with a fault in a gene called SorCS2 look very different (bottom). Rather than growing in neatly arranged rows, they’re disorganised and chaotic, with longer hairs growing in the middle rather than at the back. As might be expected from such chaos, these animals are profoundly deaf. By studying the role of SorCS2 in the growth and development of stereocilia, scientists hope to find clues explaining why some human babies are born deaf too.

Deaf Awareness Week 2017 starts today

Written by Kat Arney

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BPoD stands for Biomedical Picture of the Day. Managed by the MRC London Institute of Medical Sciences the website aims to engage everyone, young and old, in the wonders of biomedicine. Images are kindly provided for inclusion on this website through the generosity of scientists across the globe.

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