Dyslexia-linked genetic variant decreases midline crossing of auditory pathways

February 1, 2012
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.

Explore further: Unexpected function of dyslexia gene

Related Stories

Unexpected function of dyslexia gene

June 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.

Listen up: Abnormality in auditory processing underlies dyslexia

December 21, 2011
People with dyslexia often struggle with the ability to accurately decode and identify what they read. Although disrupted processing of speech sounds has been implicated in the underlying pathology of dyslexia, the basis ...

Recommended for you

Scientists block evolution's molecular nerve pruning in rodents

July 27, 2017
Researchers investigating why some people suffer from motor disabilities report they may have dialed back evolution's clock a few ticks by blocking molecular pruning of sophisticated brain-to-limb nerve connections in maturing ...

In witnessing the brain's 'aha!' moment, scientists shed light on biology of consciousness

July 27, 2017
Columbia scientists have identified the brain's 'aha!' moment—that flash in time when you suddenly become aware of information, such as knowing the answer to a difficult question. Today's findings in humans, combined with ...

Social influences can override aggression in male mice, study shows

July 27, 2017
Stanford University School of Medicine investigators have identified a cluster of nerve cells in the male mouse's brain that, when activated, triggers territorial rage in a variety of situations. Activating the same cluster ...

Scientists become research subjects in after-hours brain-scanning project

July 27, 2017
A quest to analyze the unique features of individual human brains evolved into the so-called Midnight Scan Club, a group of scientists who had big ideas but almost no funding and little time to research the trillions of neural ...

Researchers reveal unusual chemistry of protein with role in neurodegenerative disorders

July 27, 2017
A common feature of neurodegenerative diseases is the formation of permanent tangles of insoluble proteins in cells. The beta-amyloid plaques found in people with Alzheimer's disease and the inclusion bodies in motor neurons ...

Mother's brain reward response to offspring reduced by substance addiction

July 27, 2017
Maternal addiction and its effects on children is a major public health problem, often leading to high rates of child abuse, neglect and foster care placement. In a study published today in the journal Human Brain Mapping, ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.