Over the years, mothers around the world have routinely warned their children of the imminent hearing loss resulting from too many Iron Maiden concerts, blasting Winger too loud on car stereos, or the permanently attached iPod earbuds that come standard with adolescents nowadays, but now we have scientific data to suggest our mothers and miR-96 might be to blame!
According to a newly published article in Nature Genetics, it turns out that progressive hearing loss is often inherited and, as they discovered, can be traced back to a single point mutation in miR-96.?
The study was a collaboration of two groups which then shared their emerging data. One team, from the Hospital Ramón y Cajal, Madrid, Spain, studied families who showed hearing loss. The second team, from the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, examined mice that showed progressive hearing loss from an early age.
While searching for genes that were associated with hearing loss, they found miR-96 was involved. After further sequencing the region, the team discovered mutations in the seed region of miR-96 that were highly correlated with progressive hearing loss. These surprising findings represent the:?
- First miRNA to be associated with hearing impairment.
- First time that a disease-causing mutation has been shown in a miRNA.
- First miRNA to be associated with an inherited disorder.
We’ve been informed that mother’s worldwide are protesting the data, but you can check out all the details yourself at Nature Genetics, April 2009