Genetic traits seem to have a strong hold over the ability to learn a language among individuals. According to scientists from the University of Edinburgh, the gene ROBO1 is associated with the mechanism in the brain that helps babies develop speech. Understanding this gene may open doors to some aspects of language learning among infants that are influenced by genetic makeup rather than educational factors.
The study examining language learning techniques was triggered on 538 families with five offspring. On completion of the five year old study, investigators noted that a version of the ROBO1 gene significantly improves the key component of language learning. This gene supposedly directs chemicals in brain cells that aid infants store and translate speech sounds they hear into meaningful language.
“The infant language acquisition system is quintessentially human and yet is a complex system requiring many brain regions. The discovery of the ROBO1 gene helps to understand how speech sounds can be stored long enough to be integrated with meaning,” alleged Professor Timothy Bates from the School of Philosophy, Psychology and Lan.
A remarkable correlation between the way this gene functions and the brains ability to store speech sounds for a brief period of time was registered. This process appears vital for the language learning process among kids when words are at first meaningless until associated with an object or concept. It is presumed that the gene discovery can boost understanding of speech disorders, dyslexia and short-term memory problems.
The study is published in the European Journal of Human Genetics.