Paul Bates and colleagues have reported new findings about the gene DYX1C1, which has been a focal point for research on genetic contributions to dyslexia for at least six years. Writing for the journal Molecular Psychiatry, the research team revealed that their examination of the relationship between DYX1C1 and variations in reading ability points at certain variations in genes and reading ability. Specific differences in individual nucleotides (single nucleotide polymorphisms, or SNPs), different from those reported previously, appear to be associated with ability and disability in reading and spelling.
The status of DYX1C1 (C15q21.3) as a susceptibility gene for dyslexia is unclear. We report the association of this gene with reading and spelling ability in a sample of adolescent twins and their siblings. Family-based association analyses were carried out on 13 single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in DYX1C1, typed in 790 families with up to 5 offspring and tested on 6 validated measures of lexical processing (irregular word) and grapheme–phoneme decoding (pseudo-word) reading- and spelling-based measures of dyslexia, as well as a short-term memory measure. Significant association was observed at the misssense mutation rs17819126 for all reading measures and for spelling of lexical processing words, and at rs3743204 for both irregular and nonword reading. Verbal short-term memory was associated with rs685935. Support for association was not found at rs3743205 and rs61761345 as previously reported by Taipale et al., but these SNPs had very low (0.002 for rs3743205) minor allele frequencies in this sample. These results suggest that DYX1C1 influences reading and spelling ability with additional effects on short-term information storage or rehearsal. Missense mutation rs17819126 is a potential functional basis for the association of DYX1C1 with dyslexia.