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J Fluency Disord. 2007;32(1):33-50. Epub 2006 Dec 30.

Genetic studies of stuttering in a founder population.

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Department of Human Genetics, The University of Chicago, Chicago, IL 60637, United States.


Genome-wide linkage and association analyses were conducted to identify genetic determinants of stuttering in a founder population in which 48 individuals affected with stuttering are connected in a single 232-person genealogy. A novel approach was devised to account for all necessary relationships to enable multipoint linkage analysis. Regions with nominal evidence for linkage were found on chromosomes 3 (P=0.013, 208.8 centiMorgans (cM)), 13 (P=0.012, 52.6 cM), and 15 (P=0.02, 100 cM). Regions with nominal evidence for association with stuttering that overlapped with a linkage signal are located on chromosomes 3 (P=0.0047, 195 cM), 9 (P=0.0067, 46.5 cM), and 13 (P=0.0055, 52.6 cM). We also conducted the first meta-analysis for stuttering using results from linkage studies in the Hutterites and The Illinois International Genetics of Stuttering Project and identified regions with nominal evidence for linkage on chromosomes 2 (P=0.013, 180-195 cM) and 5 (P=0.0051, 105-120 cM; P=0.015, 120-135 cM). None of the linkage signals detected in the Hutterite sample alone, or in the meta-analysis, meet genome-wide criteria for significance, although some of the stronger signals overlap linkage mapping signals previously reported for other speech and language disorders.


After reading this article, the reader will be able to: (1) summarize information about the background of common disorders and methodology of genetic studies; (2) evaluate the role of genetics in stuttering; (3) discuss the value of using founder populations in genetic studies; (4) articulate the importance of combining several studies in a meta-analysis; (5) discuss the overlap of genetic signals identified in stuttering with other speech and language disorders.

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