Scientists at the Washington University School of Medicine have replicated human stuttering in mice. The mice carry a mutation in the gene associated with stuttering, Gnptab. Of course, mice do not verbalize in the same way you and I do but they do communicate with one another using complex sounds, most of which can’t even be picked up by the human ear.
A common characteristic that comes with stuttering is the hesitation to break up a smooth flow of speech. The scientists involved in the study recorded mouse pups that were born with the mutation and found that they exhibited longer pauses during communication than those without the mutation. They also found that the syllables vocalized by the mice with the mutation were less random, meaning they repeated these syllables more often. The abnormalities in communication displayed by the mice closely mimics stuttering in humans.
Currently it is still not clear how exactly the Gnptab gene relates to speech but with the disorder replicated in mice, scientists are now developing ideas to further explore the disorder.
I’ve always found stuttering to be a curious disorder because even now not much is known about it. I was aware that in some cases stuttering can be a result caused by other trauma but even then, how is it usually fixed? At this point in time there is no universal cure for stuttering. I personally feel that this project is a huge step in the right direction to developing a cure for the disorder or even in just better understanding it. This study could help an incredible amount of people suffering with the disorder and hopefully find a solution to stop stuttering all together.