Researchers from the Washington University School of Medicine (St. Louis, MO) and the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD) have published an article in Current Biology titled, A Mutation Associated with Stuttering Alters Mouse Pup Ultrasonic Vocalizations.
We learned in a previous study by Dennis Drayna at NIDCD that approximately 8% of people who stutter have a specific genetic mutation in the GNPTAB gene on chromosome 12. In this study, Barnes et al. analyze mice carrying this GNPTAB mutation and find that several vocalization features are abnormal. These “stuttering mice” vocalized less and had longer pauses between vocalizations than control mice without the mutation.
While experts argue whether or not these findings provide an animal model for stuttering, there is no debate that this is an exciting development in stuttering research.