London: A gene that causes children to beborn deaf has been discovered which scientists say could helpin developing medicines to treat the condition in future. The research conducted in The Netherlands found the gene,called PTPRQ, which appears to play a role in the developmentof the inner ear "hair cell" before the birth of the child.
"This knowledge will help improve treatments forpatients, genetic counselling, molecular diagnosis and thedevelopment of advanced therapeutic strategies." One child in 750 is born with severe hearing loss orprofound deafness and this study means parents with thehereditary condition would be able to predict more accuratelythe chances of passing it on to their children, the scientistssaid. Dr Sohaila Rastan, at British charity Royal NationalInstitute for the Deaf (RNID) that funded the research, said: "Knowledge of genes causing deafness tells us more about howour hearing works. "This research will help develop medicines that aredesperately needed to prevent deafness and restore hearing." There are hopes that gene therapy will one day be able tocorrect genetic defects linked to this type of deafness. PTI
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