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Beethoven, Ratatouille, and a Krisper – Preventing Deafness


This is some really cool and promising scientific news regarding hearing loss that came out on the 20th of last month. In the science journal Nature, scientists at Broad Institute, MIT, and Harvard published a study showing promising gene-editing techniques for preventing hearing loss in laboratory animals. While the research is still underway, the scientists say this could go a long way someday towards preventing deafness in children born to families with histories of genetic hearing loss.

The study was done by performing experiments on a type of mouse called the Beethoven Mouse, named for the famously deaf composer Ludwig von Beethoven. The mice carry a defect that causes them to lose their hearing. The gene defect that the mice carry is the same defect that can cause children to be profoundly deaf by late childhood if a bad copy of it is found in the body.

To run the experiment the scientists used a gene-editing technique called CRISPR Cas-9 to effectively block out the defective gene. This gene when un