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Hearing gene found

Tuesday August 5th, 2014

A major study involving twins has led to the discovery of a gene responsible for the quality of hearing, it was announced today.

Some 1,000 twins volunteered to take part in the research conducted at King's College, London.

The researchers say the SIK3 - salt-inducible kinase 3 - gene is "key" to how well humans can hear, especially at high frequencies.

The findings are published in the journal Human Molecular Genetics. The research involved nearly 5,000 people across Europe.

Researcher Dr Frances Williams said: "Hearing loss in adults is a complex condition involving both genetic and environmental factors, but we still know very little about the genes involved which is why this research is so important."

Professor James Goodwin, of Age UK, which backed the research, said: "The majority of people with hearing loss in the UK are older people – a staggering 6.4 million aged 65 and over.

"Loss of our senses as we age can cut us off from the outside world so research breakthroughs like this one are vital if we are to tackle this condition more effectively, and so improve quality of life for older people."

Salt-inducible kinase 3, SIK3, is a new gene associated with hearing. Human Molecular Genetics 5 August 2014

Tags: Genetics | Hearing | UK News

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