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Ear Breakthrough

  New research published in the journal Current Biology has added significantly to understanding of how the ear works, giving hope to millions of deaf and hard of hearing people.

  The latest research, conducted by Dr. Jorg T. Albet, a Deafness Research UK research fellow at the UCL Ear Institute, together with scientists at the University of Cologne, shows that fruit flies have ears which mechanically amplify sound signals in a remarkably similar way to the sensory(感觉的)cells found in the inner ear of vertebrates(脊椎动物)including humans. The finding means that the wealth of genetic techniques already available to study the fruit fly can now be used to target how the ear works.

  Dr.Albert says."The biophysical parallels between the ways both fruit flies and humans convert sound into nerve signals are truly amazing.We may be allowed to hope that these mechanistic(机械学的)similarities extend further down to the genes and molecules that bring about hearing.But even if it finally should turn out that hearing in fruit flies relies on different molecules than does hearing in humans, the little fruit fly can help us find answers to some key questions of hearing research and –what is sometimes even more important -will surely help us ask the right questions."

  The work is welcomed by Deafness Research UK, the country’s only medical research charity for deaf people.Vivienne Michael, chief executive of Deafness Research UK.says," This is an important advance that paves the way toward a clear understanding of the genetics of deafness.

  The charity will continue to support culling-edge(尖端的)research through its Fellowship programme at the UCI.Ear institute and at other top research centres in the UK to achieve our goal of securing audical improvements in the prevention,diagnosis and treatment of all forms of hearing impairment"

  There are nine million deaf and hard of hearing people in the UK and in most cases deafness results from loss of sensory cells in the inner ear known as "hair", cells.The cells can be images and lost through ageing, noise, genetic defects and certain drugs and, because the cells don’t regenerate, the result is progressive -and irreversible -hearing loss .Damage to these cells can also lead to tinnitus(耳鸣),which affects around five million people in the UK.

  (单项选择题)Quite a number of genetic techniques have been used_____.

  A.to target how the ear works

  B.to study the fruit fly

  C.to stimulate sensory cells

  D.to amplify sound signals

  【答案】B

  【考点】2015

  【解析】第二段The finding means that the wealth of genetic techniques already available to study the fruit fly can now be used to target how the ear works.可知,大量经费用于研究果蝇的听力,且已经有可应用的成果,故选择B。

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