British researchers report in Nature that they have found a gene mutation that seems to cause severe deafness, which affects about one in 1,000 children.
Deafness is known to have several genetic components but genetically linked deafness usually has other problems associated with it. The gene, Cx26, causes the production of a protein known as connexin 26, which is found in large amounts in the inner ear. People whose Cx26 gene is mutated can develop severe deafness. The mutation does not seem to have any effect other than deafness, researchers said.