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From genes to behavior in developmental dyslexia


All four genes thus far linked to developmental dyslexia participate in brain development, and abnormalities in brain development are increasingly reported in dyslexia. Comparable abnormalities induced in young rodent brains cause auditory and cognitive deficits, underscoring the potential relevance of these brain changes to dyslexia. Our perspective on dyslexia is that some of the brain changes cause phonological processing abnormalities as well as auditory processing abnormalities; the latter, we speculate, resolve in a proportion of individuals during development, but contribute early on to the phonological disorder in dyslexia. Thus, we propose a tentative pathway between a genetic effect, developmental brain changes, and perceptual and cognitive deficits associated with dyslexia.

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This work was supported by US National Institutes of Health grant HD20806 and by the The Dyslexia Foundation, and by grants from the Ville de Paris and the European Commission NEURODYS Project.

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Figure 1: Protein domains and possible functions.
Figure 2: Human and animal neocortical malformations.