Latest Issue of Science News


Underwater balancing act

Tweaking the structure of crystals nestled in the inner ears of zebrafish can throw the fish off balance, biologists have found. During development, proteins guide the assembly of calcium carbonate molecules into tiny crystals called otoliths. These structures, which lie on top of gravity-sensing organs in the inner ear, influence both balance and hearing.

Researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology in Tübingen, Germany, and the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility in Grenoble, France, identified a gene that codes for one of the crystal-organizing proteins.

Note: To comment, Science News subscribing members must now establish a separate login relationship with Disqus. Click the Disqus icon below, enter your e-mail and click “forgot password” to reset your password. You may also log into Disqus using Facebook, Twitter or Google.

This article is available only to subscribing members. Join SSP today or Log in.