Gene linked to hereditary deafness discovered
The discovery could help in finding out whether future children in families with inherited deafness would be at risk and also offer possible treatments.
Details of the study
To reach this conclusion, scientists at Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre in the Netherlands analyzed genetic traits of families where several members were deaf since birth.
For the study, they looked at the DNA of individual family members to identify which regions in their DNA were likely to surround deafness causing genes.
Role of PTPRQ gene
Using this method, they identified a gene labeled PTPRQ which appeared to play a key role in the development of the inner ear "hair cell," before child birth.
The improper or inadequate formation of hair cells, essential for hearing, was found to be the cause behind profound deafness or extremely poor hearing.
Any such genetic fault can lead to problems throughout childhood, including behavioral and developmental difficulties, and low academic achievement, reports the BBC.
In the last few months, the same team had discovered two other genes linked to inherited deafness.
Dr Hannie Kremer, who led the research, was quoted by BBC as saying, "Our approach is identifying more genes for congenital deafness.
"This knowledge will help improve treatments for patients, genetic counseling, molecular diagnosis and the development of advanced therapeutic strategies."
The Telegraph quoted Dr Sohaila Rastan, chief scientific officer for the deaf and hard of hearing charity RNID, as saying, "Knowledge of genes causing deafness tells us more about how our hearing works. This research will help develop medicines that are desperately needed to prevent deafness and restore hearing."
The research was funded by the Royal National Institute for Deaf People (RNID) and appears in the American Journal of Human Genetics.