Gene trap

 
Published: Monday 15 December 1997

A gene related to deafness has been discovered in a Costa Rican family that may help understand why people become hard of hearing. E Lynch and his colleagues of the Department of Medicine and Genetics, University of Washington, Seattle, USA, say that low-frequency deafness in the family starts at nearly age 10 and becomes intense by age 30. Children of deaf parents have 50 per cent chance of becoming deaf themselves. The researchers detected an unidentified gene called HDIA1 that produces a deformed protein associated with the family's deafness syndrome. The protein is linked to actin -- a major component of the cytoskeleton of hair cells of the inner ear.

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