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New candidate gene for dyslexia discovered

Published: 2017-08-29

A new study, led by Juha Kere (KI/SciLifeLab), has uncovered a link between a variant of the NCAN gene and developmental dyslexia. The results, published in Scientific Reports, also shows that this NCAN type is associated with volumes of certain brain regions in young adults and infants. 

Developmental dyslexia involves troubles with accurate and/or fluent word recognition and spelling, despite sufficient intelligence and intact sensory abilities. The researchers of the current study performed a whole-genome linkage analysis in a Finnish pedigree of eight cases with developmental dyslexia. They found several genetic regions that were shared by the affected individuals. Deeper analyses, revealed that the RNA expression pattern of a rare variant of the NCAN gene was highly correlated with that of the previously suggested susceptibility genes for developmental dyslexia.

The study also demonstrates an association between NCAN variations with volumes of certain brain regions in young adults and infants, suggesting that the gene is able to affect brain structure and function.