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July 25, 2013

Genetic mutation causes hearing loss and short-sightedness

Researchers have identified a genetic mutation that weakens hearing and sight.

Genetic mutation causes hearing loss and short-sightedness

A mutation in the gene SLITRK6 produces symptoms of myopia, also known as short-sightedness, and hearing loss, according to a study carried out by researchers from St George's, University of London and the Miller School of Medicine in Miami.

Genetic structures analysed

Researchers made the discovery by looking at the genetic composition of the members of three different families.

"By studying the genetic make-up of three families, with multiple members affected by deafness and short-sightedness, we discovered that the SLITRK6 gene was mutated in all those who were affected by the condition," co-lead author Professor Andrew Crosby from St George's, University of London, stated.

Could improve treatment

This new knowledge could bring about new and improved ways of treating these two conditions.

“We hope that identifying the genetic cause of these common sensory problems and a causative link between myopia and hearing loss will lead to better understanding of the mechanism of these disorders and eventually how to better treat them,” said Dr Mustafa Tekin, study co-lead author and associate professor at Miller School of Medicine.

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