Genes, cognition and dyslexia: Learning to read the genome

Fisher, S. E., & Francks, C. (2006). Genes, cognition and dyslexia: Learning to read the genome. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 10, 250-257. doi:10.1016/j.tics.2006.04.003.
Studies of dyslexia provide vital insights into the cognitive architecture underpinning both disordered and normal reading. It is well established that inherited factors contribute to dyslexia susceptibility, but only very recently has evidence emerged to implicate specific candidate genes. In this article, we provide an accessible overview of four prominent examples--DYX1C1, KIAA0319, DCDC2 and ROBO1--and discuss their relevance for cognition. In each case correlations have been found between genetic variation and reading impairments, but precise risk variants remain elusive. Although none of these genes is specific to reading-related neuronal circuits, or even to the human brain, they have intriguing roles in neuronal migration or connectivity. Dissection of cognitive mechanisms that subserve reading will ultimately depend on an integrated approach, uniting data from genetic investigations, behavioural studies and neuroimaging.
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