Is stuttering genetic?

Is stuttering genetic?

written by: Dr. Heather Grossman

People who stutter often report that they have other relatives who stutter. However, this finding alone does not prove that stuttering is genetic; one could argue that a child can come to stutter by imitation.  Further complicating the issue is the fact that not all people who stutter actually have a family member who stutters, casting some doubt on a theory based on solely heredity.

The September 2012 ASHA Leader summarized current research conducted by Dennis Drayna that confirms that stuttering does indeed have a solid genetic connection.  His studies include those conducted with families who have large numbers of people who stutter.  One such study conducted in Pakistan found a marker for stuttering linked specifically to chromosome 12.

Drayna adds that results of seven different twin studies have all provided evidence for a genetic component to stuttering.  If stuttering were purely genetic, all cases of identical twins would show perfect concordance in terms of stuttering.  However, this is not the case; In most, but not all such cases, if one identical twin stutters, so does the other.  We know then that other factors (such as random anomalies and environment factors) are also contributing factors to stuttering.


By |2017-02-19T06:26:57-05:00March 20th, 2013|Featured, Research|7 Comments


  1. Fun Ways To Practice Speech Tools | Stuttering Relief Blog March 28, 2013 at 9:08 am - Reply

    […] Is stuttering genetic? « American Institute for Stuttering […]

  2. Donna DeVoue July 11, 2014 at 7:01 pm - Reply

    I am thoroughly convinced its genetic. My husband has stuttered since he was very young. Then, when he was 24, he was told that his father was not his biological father. When he was 33 he met some of his biological family for the first time. He was amazed when he saw that his biological dad, a half brother, and a nephew all stuttered as well. He is now 59 and this summer he met several more half brothers who stutter also. No “learned” stuttering here, because he was never around them.

    • Carl July 23, 2014 at 2:09 pm - Reply

      Thanks for commenting! Wow, what a story! It truly is a testament to the genetic nature of stuttering.

  3. VAIDYANATHAN SANKARANARAYANAN March 21, 2016 at 12:17 am - Reply

    If stuttering has strong genetic linkage, how is it that one person in the family develops stuttering without any of his siblings, parents, uncles, aunts and grandparents having this? In such an exceptional occurence, how probable is this person’s children having this (his wife and all relared in-laws don’t have any history of stutterin)?

    • Carl March 21, 2016 at 9:01 am - Reply

      Hi Vaidyanathan,

      We know from twin studies and more recent genetic studies that stuttering is absolutely genetic in many, if not most cases. Your question is a good one though. Here’s the way we look at it – while stuttering is genetic, that does not mean there is one stuttering gene that is passed down. In fact, recent research has indicated that it may be more of a cocktail of genes that triggers stuttering in some kids. So, if a child receives one of those genes from one parent and a few of them from another parent, that child can be genetically predisposed to stutter even though neither parent had a documented family history of stuttering.

  4. Isuru November 17, 2016 at 1:58 am - Reply


    I have Stuttering since my childhood. But no one has stuttering in my family. So now my wife is pregnant and we have a afraid that our child will stutter. How is your idea?

  5. Jess November 11, 2019 at 6:07 am - Reply

    I have identical twins both used to stutter when younger but 1 stopped around 4-5years old. The other twin is nearly 12 now and still stutters. We have been to a few speech therapists with no resolutions.

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