Folia Phoniatr Logop 2007;59:130–140

Molecular Windows into Speech and Language Disorders

Fisher S.E.
Wellcome Trust Centre for Human Genetics, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK
email Corresponding Author

 goto top of outline Key Words

  • Human genome
  • Gene mapping
  • Developmental language disorders
  • Verbal dyspraxia
  • FOXP2 gene
  • Cultured neurons

 goto top of outline Abstract

Why do some children fail to acquire speech and language skills despite adequate environmental input and overtly normal neurological and anatomical development? It has been suspected for several decades, based on indirect evidence, that the human genome might hold some answers to this enigma. These suspicions have recently received dramatic confirmation with the discovery of specific genetic changes which appear sufficient to derail speech and language development. Indeed, researchers are already using information from genetic studies to aid early diagnosis and to shed light on the neural pathways that are perturbed in these inherited forms of speech and language disorder. Thus, we have entered an exciting era for dissecting the neural bases of human communication, one which takes genes and molecules as a starting point. In the current article I explain how this recent paradigm shift has occurred and describe the new vistas that have opened up. I demonstrate ways of bridging the gaps between molecules, neurons and the brain, which will provide a new understanding of the aetiology of speech and language impairments.

Copyright © 2007 S. Karger AG, Basel

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 goto top of outline Author Contacts

Dr. Simon E. Fisher
Head of Molecular Neuroscience
Wellcome Trust Centre for Human Genetics, University of Oxford, Roosevelt Drive
Oxford OX3 7BN (UK)
Tel. +44 1865 287 647, Fax +44 1865 287 533, E-Mail

 goto top of outline Article Information

Number of Print Pages : 11
Number of Figures : 0, Number of Tables : 0, Number of References : 88

 goto top of outline Publication Details

Folia Phoniatrica et Logopaedica (International Journal of Phoniatrics, Speech Therapy and Communication Pathology)

Vol. 59, No. 3, Year 2007 (Cover Date: June 2007)

Journal Editor: Schutte, H.K. (Groningen)
ISSN: 1021–7762 (print), 1421–9972 (Online)

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