Gene is linked with palate development

Feb. 3, 2010 at 2:55 PM

ST. LOUIS, Feb. 3 (UPI) -- U.S. researchers say they have identified a gene that might be central to palate development and may lead to prenatal treatments to prevent cleft palate.

The scientists at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis said cleft palate has been linked to dozens of genes. But, while investigating of one of those genes, researchers said they were surprised to find cleft palate occurs both when the gene is more active and when it is less active than normal.

They say their finding suggests the gene and processes closely associated with it are central to palate development and could become important targets for investigators seeking non-surgical treatments to prevent cleft palate before birth.

Their findings are to appear in an upcoming issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

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