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ISLAMABAD: For scientists who study the genetics of hearing and deafness, finding the exact genetic machinery in the inner ear that responds to sound waves and converts them into electrical impulses, the language of the brain has been something of a holy grail.
Now this quest has come to fruition as a collaborative work by Pakistani and American scientists have identified a new hearing impairment gene.
Pakistani scientist Dr. Waseem Ahmed of Quaid-i-Azam University Islamabad and Dr. Zahid Azeem of Medical College Muzaffarabad AJK, along with a group of doctors from NIH America has had remarkable success when they identified a critical component of this ear-to-brain conversion - a protein called Lysyl tRNA Synthethase (KARS).
It was noted that any defect in this protein results hearing impairment in human.
Their findings were published in the prestigious science magazine, "The American Journal of Human Genetics".
Three Pakistani families - one each from the province of Khyber Paktunkhawa and Kotli and Bhimber districts of AJK, showing congenital hearing loss were studied in this regard.
This gene was previously known only to inflammatory mechanisms.
The study will help ENT doctors in the future through genetic analysis better manage such patients, preventing regression of their conditions. (APP)