Summary - A molecular-genetic and imaging-genetic approach to specific comprehension difficulties in children

A study reveals how genes affect early development of reading and language comprehension skills in children

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A team of researchers based at Yale University School of Medicine, the University of Houston (United States of America), the University of Toronto and Brock University (Canada) have explored why some children experience reading and comprehension difficulties over others by using a multi disciplinary approach in the article "A molecular-genetic and imaging-genetic approach to specific comprehension difficulties in children”.

Following DNA sequencing of genetic samples from 1432 American children aged from 8 to 15 years old, representing African and Hispanic descent, the results revealed a specific allele is associated with reading and language comprehension problems. Magnetic resonance imaging of 58 randomly selected children provided supporting evidence these genes affect brain networks and their functional connectivity.

The researchers report the study will help identify children experiencing reading and comprehension problems so parents can ameliorate the problem at an earlier age to minimise learning delays later on in life. 

The article was published by our companion Journal, npj Science of Learning and freely available to read here

Gabrielle Ahern

Managing Community Editor, npj Science of Learning Community

I have developed an interesting portfolio of skills and experience in science communication and content creation. My qualifications include a BA (GU), BMarSt.Hon (UQ), CertIV in TESOL (ACC), GCertTertTLP (UOW) and a GCertJ (UQ). You're welcome to contact me, if you would like to join the Community and contribute a blog about the mind, brain or education space.