Science reveals genes that contribute to dyslexia
By By Cara Murez HealthDay Reporter, health day reporter
MONDAY, Oct. 24, 2022 (HealthDay News) — Some children have trouble reading or spelling due to a condition called dyslexia which is known to run in families.
Now researchers report that they have identified a large number of genes responsible for the disease.
“Our results show that common genetic differences have very similar effects in boys and girls, and that there is a genetic link between dyslexia and ambidexterity,” said the lead researcher. Michelle Lucianofrom the School of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland.
“Our results also suggest that dyslexia is very closely genetically linked to performance on reading and spelling tests, reinforcing the importance of standardized tests for identifying dyslexia,” Luciano said in a university press release.
To reach these conclusions, the researchers tested the association between millions of genetic variants and dyslexia status, finding 42 significant variants in the study, which included 50,000 adults diagnosed with dyslexia and 1 million adults without a diagnosis.
About a third of the genetic variants identified had previously been linked to general cognitive ability and educational level. Some of the genes were associated with other neurodevelopmental disorders, such as language delay, as well as thinking ability and academic achievement. Many were novel and may represent genes that more specifically associate with processes essential to learning to read, the study found.
The study was the largest genetic study of dyslexia to date.
The researchers also found that several of the associated genetic variants were significant in a sample of Chinese-speaking participants in the study. This suggests that general thinking processes in learning to read are not language dependent.
Using genetic information from the study, researchers were able to predict how well children and adults in four other studies could read.
Other key researchers were from the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics in the Netherlands, the QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute in Australia and the American company 23andMe Inc.
The US National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke has more on dyslexia.
SOURCE: University of Edinburgh, press release, 20 October 2022
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