Newly discovered genes critical for hearing will provide insight into causes of hearing loss in humans
Fifty-two previously unidentified genes that are critical for hearing have been found by testing over 3,000 mouse genes. The newly discovered genes will provide insights into the causes of hearing loss in humans, say scientists from Medical Research Council (MRC) Harwell, who led the analysis by the International Mouse Phenotyping Consortium (IMPC).
The study, published in Nature Communications, tested 3,006 strains of 'knock-out' mice for signs of hearing loss. 'Knock-out' mice have one gene from their genome inactivated, which helps researchers to uncover the functions of that gene. The IMPC aims to generate a 'knock-out' mouse for every gene in the mouse genome.
The hearing thresholds of the knock-out mice were assessed with rising volumes of sound at five different frequencies - mice were considered hearing impaired if they could not hear the quieter sounds for two or more frequencies.
They identified 67 genes that were associated with hearing loss, of which 52 had not been previously linked with hearing loss. The genes identified varied in how they affected hearing - effects ranged from mild to severe hearing loss or resulted in difficulties at lower or higher frequencies.
Source: Newly discovered genes critical for hearing will provide insight into causes of hearing loss in humans