Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Genetic Roots of Spelling Woes

Wouldn't you know it? Dyslexia and spelling problems are genetic -- and appear to boil down to an unlucky combination of 13 genes.

London, Nov 27: Scientists from Edinburgh University claim to having identified the gene sequence that determines a person’s ability to work with letters and numbers.

The findings of the 20-year study conducted by them suggest that those likely to suffer from extreme forms of dyslexia can be identified before they are born, and given extra care to help deal with the condition.

Dr Timothy Bates, one of the co-authors of the study, says that they have unveiled a combination of 13 genes that presumably affects a person’s ability to work with letters and numbers.

"We believe this combination of 13 genes makes all the difference between someone who reads flawlessly and speedily and someone who stumbles on basic words," the Scotsman quoted him as saying.

"We are confident these genes explain the bulk of the genetic effect. It tells us that reading ability boils down to the same common biological mechanism," he added.
The geneticists examined 1,300 people for their abilities in reading, writing and spelling, and thereby identified the genes influencing their performance. They discovered that it was the same set of genes that was responsible for dyslexia, and milder spelling and reading problems.

"This is fantastic news. The earlier dyslexic children are diagnosed and given help, the better their chances of living fulfilled lives,” said Vikki McNicol of the British Dyslexia Association. (ANI)

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