Dyslexia-linked genetic variant decreases midline crossing of auditory pathways

Finnish scientists have found that a rare dyslexia-linked genetic variant of the ROBO1 gene decreases normal crossing of auditory pathways in the human brain. The weaker the expression of the gene is, the more abnormal is the midline crossing. The results link, for the first time, a dyslexia-susceptibility gene to a specific sensory function of the human brain. Credit: Satu Lamminmaki

Finnish scientists have found that a rare dyslexia-linked genetic variant of the ROBO1 gene decreases normal crossing of auditory pathways in the human brain. The weaker the expression of the gene is, the more abnormal is the midline crossing. The results link, for the first time, a dyslexia-susceptibility gene to a specific sensory function of the human brain. This collaborative study between Aalto University and University of Helsinki in Finland and the Karolinska Insitutet in Sweden was published in the Journal of Neuroscience.

According to previous animal studies, dysfunction of the Robo1 gene prevents normal midline crossing of neurons during fetal development. Humans with totally dysfunctional ROBO1 gene have not been found. However, dyslexic individuals in a large Finnish family have inherited one poorly functioning copy of the ROBO1 gene. This association between ROBO1 and dyslexia was found already in 2005.

In the present study, the scientists quantified the functional crossing of auditory pathways in ten members of this family, applying a sensitive method based on the recording of weak magnetic fields of the brain (magnetoencephalo¬graphy, MEG). The functional crossing of auditory pathways was significantly weakened in individuals who carried the dyslexia-linked version of the ROBO1 gene.

Dyslexia is the most common learning disability, affecting roughly 10 per cent of the population in most countries.

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Language learning influenced by genes

Feb 11, 2011

Researchers at the University of Edinburgh have found a gene - called ROBO1 - linked to the mechanism in the brain that helps infants develop speech.

German scientists find dyslexia gene

Jun 20, 2006

German researchers say they've found a genetic component for the learning disability dyslexia, possibly opening new methods of treatment.

Unexpected function of dyslexia gene

Jun 20, 2011

(Medical Xpress) -- Scientists at Karolinska Institutet have discovered that a gene linked to dyslexia has a surprising biological function: it controls cilia, the antenna-like projections that cells use to communicate.

New piece in reading ability 'jigsaw'

Oct 01, 2008

(PhysOrg.com) -- A gene thought to be associated with dyslexia is also connected with reading ability in the general population, according to Oxford University research.

Adults with dyslexia have problems with non-speech sounds too

Jun 01, 2010

(PhysOrg.com) -- Dyslexia is usually associated with persistent reading, spelling, and sometimes speech difficulties that are hard to overcome. One theory proposed to explain the condition is that people with dyslexia suffer ...

Recommended for you

Brain's dynamic duel underlies win-win choices

10 hours ago

People choosing between two or more equally positive outcomes experience paradoxical feelings of pleasure and anxiety, feelings associated with activity in different regions of the brain, according to research ...

ALS disease is rare, 1st US count finds

11 hours ago

(AP)—The U.S. government has issued its first national estimate for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS, confirming the devastating disease is rare.

Study links enzyme to autistic behaviors

Jul 23, 2014

Fragile X syndrome (FXS) is a genetic disorder that causes obsessive-compulsive and repetitive behaviors, and other behaviors on the autistic spectrum, as well as cognitive deficits. It is the most common ...

User comments