Researchers in Germany and England recently identified a newly-discovered type of DNA, called microRNA, as the cause of hearing loss with a laboratory-proven, genetic basis.
Lab results were founded, first, on tests of a new “mouse model” created by German scientists researching genetics in mice. Next, scientists in England studied families with histories of early hearing loss, collected DNA samples and found a direct, genetic corollary between hearing loss in lab rats and worsening hearing loss in children.
There is a number of known hearing loss conditions associated with genetic mutations, but researchers have only scratched the surface in analyzing the complex structure of DNA.
microRNA and Hearing Loss: Research Benefits
Perhaps the most remarkable aspect of this study is the discovery of a new class of gene, one that, through mutation in both mice and humans, is the culprit in cases of early loss of hearing. The connection between microRNA – the new classification of DNA – opens extensive avenues for new, more advanced, disease-specific research. Prior to this study, mutated microRNA had not been related to hearing loss.
Despite the fact research into microRNA mutations has just begun, there is great promise in determining the cause of many genetically-based medical conditions, including hearing loss, and more specifically, hearing loss that affects children born with the mutant miR-96 microRNA.
To learn more about the findings of this study and the implications of genetic hearing loss, visit: Reasons for Hearing Loss: Genetic Mutation of microRNA.