Secrets of dyslexia unlocked
A GENETIC breakthrough will allow dyslexia to be diagnosed in unborn babies, it was revealed yesterday.
Scientists from Edinburgh University have helped unravel the gene sequence that determines a person's ability to work with letters and numbers.
Their findings - the result of a 20-year study - mean 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, said the research had unlocked the biological secrets of dyslexia.
"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," he said.
"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."
The geneticists examined 1,300 people aged 12 to 25. By studying their performance in reading, writing and spelling, they identified the genes influencing their performance. They discovered it was the same set of genes that was responsible for dyslexia and milder spelling and reading problems.
Vikki McNicol, of the British Dyslexia Association,
said: "This is fantastic news.
"The earlier dyslexic children are diagnosed and given help, the better their chances of living fulfilled lives."
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