Global study to identify cause of stuttering

Global study to identify cause of stuttering

Illuminate newsletter index page, September 2019
September 2019

Study participant Sian Williams
Sian is an early participant in the Australian arm 
of the global Genetics of Stuttering Study.

Do you stutter, or know someone who does?
We are seeking 3000 Australians who stutter, or have a history of stuttering, to take part in an international study to identify the genetic cause of this condition. 

The exact cause of stuttering is unknown, however, research developments have shown that our genes play an important role.

How can I take part?

Experts from Australia, New Zealand, UK, US and the Netherlands are collaborating to recruit people aged seven and older who stutter, or have a history of stuttering.

To take part in the trial, volunteers need 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. Almost 600 people have signed up to date.

From cause to treatment

Leading the Genetics of Stuttering Study in Australia is head of the Institute’s Healthy Development and Ageing research theme, Professor Melanie Bahlo.

Professor Bahlo said learning more about the genetic and neurobiological basis of speech and language disorders could help to identify targeted treatments.

“We think this study could lead to better treatment and even help to prevent stuttering,” Professor Bahlo said.

The Walter and Eliza Hall Institute, Murdoch Children’s Research Institute, QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute, Griffith University and the University of Melbourne are coordinating the Australian arm of the global project.

To find our more visit:

Super Content: 
Graphic of DNA in a speech bubble

An international team, including Institute data analysts led by Professor Melanie Bahlo, is seeking to pinpoint the genes predisposing a person to stuttering.

Animation still showing X inactivation

WEHI.TV animation: X inactivation is a vital process that occurs in all DNA-containing cells of the female body. It is also an important research model and tool for studying epigenetics.

Melanie Bahlo

Talking to Einstein A Go Go as we celebrate the Australian Society for Medical Research (ASMR) 'Medical Research Week'.