UK participants needed help discovering genes

UK participants needed help discovering stuttering genes

Photo: More than 1,500 adults and children from the UK have been recruited for an international study aimed at discovering the genes that cause stuttering.
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Credit: UNHCR Ukraine

More than 1,500 adults and children from the UK were recruited for an international study aimed at discovering the genes that cause stuttering.

The largest study of its kind hopes to provide insight into why some people are more likely to develop stuttering, also known as stuttering, in an effort to develop new treatments that target the cause, not just the symptoms.

In addition to experts from the United Kingdom, research teams from New Zealand, Australia, the United States and the Netherlands are also looking for people aged five or older who stutter or have a history of stuttering in Study the genetics of stuttering. Stuttering, which causes frequent and significant problems with normal fluency and the flow of speech, affects one in 100 adults.

WEHI (Walter and Elisa Hall Institute for Medical Research), and Murdoch Children’s Research InstituteAnd the QIMR Berghofer Institute for Medical ResearchAnd the Griffith University and the University of Melbourne The global project is coordinated. University College London (UCL) He will be supervising the UK arm of the study.

UCL Assistant Professor Frederic Leggeus He said the study participants will contribute to a global effort to better understand the genes behind stuttering.

“Knowing more about the genetic basis will help us determine who may be at higher risk of stuttering,” she said.

WEHI and the University of Melbourne Professor Melanie Pahlo He said that stuttering usually appears in children between the ages of two and four years after they begin to speak.

“About 4 percent of children go through a phase where they prolong words or stumble trying to speak,” she said. Studies show that 8 percent of three-year-olds and 11 percent of four-year-olds stutter.”

Murdoch Children and the University of Melbourne Ms. Angela Morgan Although the exact cause of stuttering is not known, genes have been found to play a role and researchers have identified four genes that may be associated with the condition.

“Globally, 1 percent of adults stutter and nearly 70 percent of those who report a family history of stuttering,” she said. But even for people for whom the disorder doesn’t run in the family, genes can still play a role.

“Sex is one of the most powerful predisposing factors for stuttering. Boys are two to five times more likely to stutter than girls, and they are also less likely to stop stuttering without treatment.

Many stuttering treatments focus only on the symptoms, without targeting the underlying causes. We hope this research will develop new treatments for those who want access to treatment to help better manage their stuttering and learn to speak more easily.”

To participate in the experiment, volunteers need to complete a 10-minute online survey. Those who meet the study criteria will be asked to provide a saliva sample for DNA analysis. People who stutter, whether or not they have a family history, are encouraged to participate.

Participants will be informed of bi-monthly updates via the study website and can follow Facebook page or Twitter account for updates.

To register for the study visit Or for more details, send an email to

*The content of this communication is the sole responsibility of Murdoch Children and does not reflect the views of the Australian National Council for Health and Medical Research.

Available for interview:

Associate Professor Frederic Leggiou, UCL, Department of Developmental Neuroscience

Professor Angela Morgan, Murdoch’s Children’s Group Leader, Speech and Language

Professor Melanie Pahlow, Head of the Statistical Genetics Laboratory at WEHI

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