Learning Disabilities Center Grant

A Florida State University Center

Project 4

Molecular Genetic and Behavioral Studies of Profoundly-Impaired Readers

Dr. Elena Grigorenko

Dr. Richard K. Wagner

Dr. Joseph Chang

Dr. Judith Kidd

Dr. Kenneth Kidd

We are studying the behavioral and genetic bases of severe reading impairment. Specifically, we are establishing a unique sample of 500 severely effected school children and at least two first-degree relatives of the proband (the affected individual). These relatives should be a biological parent and biological sibling (brother or sister).

Families of children who have severe dyslexia will be recruited through the Dyslexia Research Registry. Click here to learn about the Dyslexia Research Registry.

We will combine behavior testing and statistical, molecular, and population genetics in an attempt to understand relationships between specific candidate genes and various traits of severe dyslexia. We will give a reading and achievement evaluation to all school age participants and collect DNA samples from all participants.

We undertake this study with the understanding that severe reading disabilities are manifested through multivariate phenotypes governed by genes and (the) environment both pleiotropically and uniquely. Candidate genes will be investigated for ancestral alleles and haplotypes and global variation of allele and haplotype frequencies from 38 world populations (and a number of primate species).