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Development. 2012 Jan;139(2):245-57. doi: 10.1242/dev.067074.

Shaping sound in space: the regulation of inner ear patterning.

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  • 1Departments of Neuroscience and Molecular and Human Genetics, BCM295, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX 77030, USA.

Erratum in

  • Development. 2012 Feb;139(4):826.


The inner ear is one of the most morphologically elaborate tissues in vertebrates, containing a group of mechanosensitive sensory organs that mediate hearing and balance. These organs are arranged precisely in space and contain intricately patterned sensory epithelia. Here, we review recent studies of inner ear development and patterning which reveal that multiple stages of ear development - ranging from its early induction from the embryonic ectoderm to the establishment of the three cardinal axes and the fine-grained arrangement of sensory cells - are orchestrated by gradients of signaling molecules.

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