Hearing loss gene found in Chinese research breakthrough



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Researchers from Xiangya Hospital in China's Hunan Province have discovered a gene associated with hearing loss, a breakthrough that should help in diagnosis and treatment strategies.

Led by Dr. Feng Yong, from Central South University, Changsha, the academics set out to determine the genetic etiology of deafness in a family with autosomal dominant nonsyndromic hearing loss (NSHL). The researchers found a gene, ABCC1, which has variants linked to hearing loss and a major role in cochlear function. Experiments on mice showed that the dysfunction of one of the variants led to hearing loss.

"Our data also has implications for future molecular and clinical diagnosis of hearing loss," said Feng, who has conducted deafness gene researches for more than two decades. His team has reported pathogenic mutations of over 20 deafness genes.

The discovery was published in July in the international journal Genetics in Medicine. Further research needs to be carried out to determine the exact contribution of the gene to hearing loss.