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The current issue of the Journal of Neurodevelopmental Disorders has published an open access paper announcing the discovery of a new candidate gene linked to language, KIAA0319. The paper is titled, “Convergent genetic linkage and associations to language, speech and reading measures in families of probands with Specific Language Impairment.”

The gene sits on short arm of Chromosome 6. Through linkage analysis, it was found to be associated with variability in language abilities in a study of children with Specific Language Impairment (SLI) and their family members, as well as with variability in speech and reading abilities. Specific alleles were confirmed with association analysis.

“A total of 322 participants, including 86 probands, 134 siblings, and 102 parents and other relatives were tested from an ongoing longitudinal study of Specific Language Impairment… The significant results cluster in the 5’ region of KIAA0319… In particular, we replicate the associated alleles for rs4504469 (allele C); rs761100 (allele G); rs6935076 (allele T) and rs3756821 (allele A).”

It should be noted that KIAA0319 was already linked to dyslexia in previous studies. But, in this paper, the pleiotropic effects of KIAA0318 alleles on language ability, speech impairments, and text comprehension were correlated.

    Rice, M., Smith, S., & Gayán, J. (2009). Convergent genetic linkage and associations to language, speech and reading measures in families of probands with Specific Language Impairment Journal of Neurodevelopmental Disorders DOI: 10.1007/s11689-009-9031-x
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