Aussie researchers are urgently seeking 3,000 volunteers for a groundbreaking study into the genetics of stuttering.
The study aims to pinpoint the genes that predispose individuals to stuttering, which could revolutionise further research into the causes, treatment and prevention of the disorder.
Globally, one per cent of adults stutter, and nearly 70 per cent of people who stutter report a family history of stuttering. While boys are two-to-five times more likely to stutter than girls. Although the exact cause of stuttering is unknown, genetics have been found to play a role, and a number of genetic variants have been identified to date.
The Murdoch Children's Research Institute, QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute and Griffith University are among five organisations coordinating the Australian arm of the international 'Genetics of Stuttering Study'. The recruitment stage will close December 2019.
Eligible volunteers will be aged seven and above, with experience of stuttering (past or present). Participants will be required to complete a 10-minute online survey and record a short sample of their speech. Those who qualify will be invited to provide a saliva sample for DNA analysis.
Harrison Craig, winner of The Voice 2013, has lived with stuttering since childhood and will take part in the study.
"My treatment to date, has been effective to a degree, but I'm not sure free speech will ever come naturally to me. The truth is, to simply speak in social situations can be very exhausting," he said.
"Very little is understood about why people stutter, but I have faith that [researchers] can make strong progress towards unlocking the mysteries of the human brain, and in turn, stuttering."
For more information on the study, head to the Genetics of Stuttering Study website.