J Genet Med.  2015 Jun;12(1):19-24. 10.5734/JGM.2015.12.1.19.

Recent advances in genetic studies of stuttering

Affiliations
  • 1Department of Biology and Research Institute of Basic Sciences, Sungshin Women's University, Seoul, Korea. ckang@sungshin.ac.kr

Abstract

Speech and language are uniquely human-specific traits, which contributed to humans becoming the predominant species on earth. Disruptions in the human speech and language function may result in diverse disorders. These include stuttering, aphasia, articulation disorder, spasmodic dysphonia, verbal dyspraxia, dyslexia and specific language impairment. Among these disorders, stuttering is the most common speech disorder characterized by disruptions in the normal flow of speech. Twin, adoption, and family studies have suggested that genetic factors are involved in susceptibility to stuttering. For several decades, multiple genetic studies including linkage analysis were performed to connect causative gene to stuttering, and several genetic studies have revealed the association of specific gene mutation with stuttering. One notable genetic discovery came from the genetic studies in the consanguineous Pakistani families. These studies suggested that mutations in the lysosomal enzyme-targeting pathway genes (GNPTAB, GNPTG and NAPGA) are associated with non-syndromic persistent stuttering. Although these studies have revealed some clues in understanding the genetic causes of stuttering, only a small fraction of patients are affected by these genes. In this study, we summarize recent advances and future challenges in an effort to understand genetic causes underlying stuttering.

Keyword

Stuttering; Genetic linkage; Lysosomes; GNPTAB; GNPTG; NAGPA
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