Genetic link ends dyslexia cover-up

27th February 1998 at 00:00
The belief that dyslexia is a cover for middle-class stupidity should be finally put to rest with new evidence that the condition is hereditary.

John Stein, the Oxford professor of physiology who helped uncover the evidence, said: "That's the best thing that could come out of this. If it was clear that dyslexia was biologically based, people would not be able to go on saying it is a middle class excuse."

Joanne Rule, chief executive of the British Dyslexia Association, said she was delighted by the findings and optimistic that they would affect attitudes. A spokesman for the Local Government Association was less sure that the news would have an impact on councils' allocations of funds for dyslexia.

The Oxford scientists identified a section of DNA that seems to be common only to dyslexic people. They took blood samples from more than 400 people in 100 families in which two children had dyslexia. They found a link between dyslexia and a part of chromosome six, although, Professor Stein emphasises, talk of a "dyslexia gene" is premature.

"In simple language, we found that dyslexic people share a bit of this chromosome more often than they would by chance. It suggests very strongly a link between the disorder and chromosome six."

Professor Stein also found "very circumstantial" hints that there might be a link between dyslexia and the genes that control immunity.

He said: "There is quite a lot of evidence already that dyslexics have more immune problems." He said this could be a pointer towards discovering the cause of dyslexia.

comment, page 20

Subscribe to get access to the content on this page.

If you are already a TES/ TESS subscriber please log in with your username or email address to get full access to our back issues, CPD library and membership plus page.

Not a subscriber? Find out more about our subscription offers.
Subscribe now
Existing subscriber?
Enter subscription number

Comments

Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
 
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar, Buyagift.com, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today