German scientists find dyslexia gene

June 20, 2006

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

People with dyslexia often reverse written letters, numbers and words, or might read backward.

Now, the Bonn's National Genome Research Network scientists say they have located the dyslexia gene, known as DCDC2.

The presence of the gene makes it five times more likely for a person to be diagnosed as dyslexic, said the group of German scientists, who theorize the gene probably disturbs a person's brain development.

Human genetics expert Johannes Schumacher, one of the researchers from the University of Bonn, said the discovery is a first step in finding treatment for the disorder, Deutsche Welle reported.

"The unusual thing is that it is one of the first illness genes at all to be found in the area of reading and writing disabilities," Schumacher told German public broadcaster WDR.

While researchers have found the gene responsible for dyslexia, there is still no treatment. "However," said Schumacher, "we hope it can help us better understand the processes of cellular biology that lead to dyslexia, and in the future, better understand how this disability develops."

Copyright 2006 by United Press International

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