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Tracing the Roots of Deafness to a Gene that Maybe Prevented Disease

By Deaf History, Information, Research No Comments

Dr. Braun is currently reconstructing the genealogy of the connexin 26 gene, which causes much of the congenital deafness in the American deaf community. The overall goal of this project is to answer some fundamental questions about why and how the large number of current connexin 26 mutations first appeared, and what these mutations and their histories can tell us about human evolution. There is some fascinating evidence that connexin 26 mutations might make deaf individuals resistant to diarrheal diseases such as dysentery and cholera, a major cause of death over the past 2,000 years.

Derek Braun is a professor and geneticist at Gallaudet University’s Department of Science, Technology and Mathematics. Gallaudet is the world’s only liberal arts university for deaf and hard-of-hearing students. He oversees the Molecular Genetics Laboratory, where deaf undergraduate students perform research alongside deaf faculty. Research interests include mutations in the connexin 26 gene, which are responsible for up to half of congenital deafness in many world populations.

This talk was given at a local TEDx event, produced independently of the TED Conferences.

Watch the video on YouTube

Canadian Association of the Deaf - Association des Sourds du Canada

Canadian Association of the Deaf – Association des Sourds du Canada

By Deaf Ecosystem, Organizations, Programs & Services

Canadian Association of the Deaf

The Canadian Association of the Deaf-Association des Sourds du Canada (CAD-ASC) is the oldest national consumer organization of, by and for Deaf individuals in Canada for having its interests represented at national level.

The CAD-ASC was founded in 1940, as the Inter-Provincial Association of the Deaf by the three major regional associations of the Deaf- the Western Canada, the Ontario, and the Eastern Canada Associations with the support of the Montreal Association of the Deaf. It was federally incorporated in 1948, and today includes membership of local, provincial and national Deaf associations from coast to cast.

The CAD-ASC provides consultation and information on Deaf needs and interests to the public, business, media, educators, governments and others. We conduct research and collect data, issue reports, and provide expertise regarding Deaf concerns and rights. We develop and implement pilot programs and “best practices.” We offer assistance to Deaf organizations and service agencies across the country, and also provide a major library and resource centre on deafness at our office in Ottawa, Ontario.

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