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Brain & Nervous System Health Center

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Gene May Be Linked to Dyslexia

Gap in Gene May Hinder the Brain's Normal Pathways for Reading

Gene Studies

Gruen's team screened the genes of different groups of people with dyslexia. Their findings support the importance of the DCDC2 gene and the gene's gap in people with dyslexia.

Researchers in Finland and Germany have found similar results, says Gruen. He notes that those countries' languages are totally different from English.

Scientists then turned their attention to newborn rats. Rats can't read, but that wasn't the point. The researchers just wanted to see what happened to the rats' brains when the normally active DCDC2 gene was blocked.

Brain cells in those baby rats are supposed to move from one part of the brain to another. That didn't happen when the DCDC2 gene was blocked, says Gruen.

More Work Ahead

"There are a lot of dots to connect," says Gruen. "This is a first report," he says.

For instance, it's not certain if everyone with the DCDC2 gene gap will develop dyslexia.

"What is the predictive value of the test? We don't know," he says.

Some of the dyslexia patients who were studied didn't have the DCDC2 gene gap. But "a large number" did, says Gruen.

He notes that he and his colleagues also found 13 other variations on the DCDC2 gene. Those variations may also affect reading, but that's not yet certain, says Gruen.

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