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Diseases » Deafness » Inheritance

Inheritance and Genetics of Deafness

Genetics of Deafness:

Deafness can be present at birth (congenital) due to a variety of different genetic traits that are inherited. It can also occur as an inherited trait later in life (age-related hearing loss often runs in families).

Deafness: Genetics Information

Genetics of Deafness:

Genes and Disease by the National Center for Biotechnology (Excerpt)

Many deafness genes exist, but the most common cause of hearing loss in American and European populations is a mutation in the connexin 26 (Cx26) gene. Cx26 has a carrier rate of 3%, similar to that for cystic fibrosis, and it causes about 20% of childhood deafness. (Source: Genes and Disease by the National Center for Biotechnology)

Genes and Disease by the National Center for Biotechnology (Excerpt)

Mutations in Cx26 cause congenital syndromic and nonsyndromic deafness --- that is, the deafness is not accompanied by other symptoms, such as blindness. Cx26 is located on chromosome 13q11-12 and codes for a gap junction protein called connexin 26. Gap junctions are plasma membrane channels that allow the movement of small molecules and ions between adjacent cells. Gap junctions of the inner ear may play a role in maintaining potassium homeostasis, which is important for inner-ear function and, thus, hearing. It has been proposed that mutations in Cx26 may disrupt potassium circulation and result in deafness. (Source: Genes and Disease by the National Center for Biotechnology)

About inheritance and genetics:

Inheritance of Deafness refers to whether the condition is inherited from your parents or "runs" in families. The level of inheritance of a condition depends on how important genetics are to the disease. Strongly genetic diseases are usually inherited, partially genetic diseases are sometimes inherited, and non-genetic diseases are not inherited. For general information, see Introduction to Genetics.


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