Comparative assessment of Fgf's diverse roles in inner ear development: A zebrafish perspective.
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Progress in understanding mechanisms of inner ear development has been remarkably rapid in recent years. The research community has benefited from the availability of several diverse model organisms, including zebrafish, chick, and mouse. The complexity of the inner ear has proven to be a challenge, and the complexity of the mammalian cochlea in particular has been the subject of intense scrutiny. Zebrafish lack a cochlea and exhibit a number of other differences from amniote species, hence they are sometimes seen as less relevant for inner ear studies. However, accumulating evidence shows that underlying cellular and molecular mechanisms are often highly conserved. As a case in point, consideration of the diverse functions of Fgf and its downstream effectors reveals many similarities between vertebrate species, allowing meaningful comparisons the can benefit the entire research community. In this review, I will discuss mechanisms by which Fgf controls key events in early otic development in zebrafish and provide direct comparisons with chick and mouse.
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