Earlier this year, we found out about gerbils who had been ‘cured’ of deafness. Now, in the next step in deafness research, a new genetic test is set to make it possible to find out exactly why someone is deaf.
Scientists at the University of Antwerp have pioneered a test which could give roughly half of deaf people the chance to find out exactly what gene made them deaf. Currently, only around 10-20% of cases can be diagnosed.
The new test uses advanced DNA sequencing technology that enables the test to screen all genes that are related to deafness at the same time.
Knowing the cause of deafness could mean that scientists become able to predict how a person’s deafness may develop over time. It may also mean that parents have more information about the probability of having a deaf baby.
The genetic test should be available in 2013.
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