Researchers headed by Mike Dixon at University of Iowa Manchester have identified the role of a gene called IRF6 which causes the inherited form of cleft lip and palate. The findings are published in journal of Nature Genetics. This research has the potential to lead to new ways of treating cleft lip and palate caused by this genetic mutation, as targeting the defective gene during pregnancy could help the skin cells develop normally. Further research has discovered the cellular processes involved in another genetic disorder that results in cleft palate. Treacher Collins syndrome is characterised by underdeveloped jaw and cheek bones and ear anomalies, as well as cleft palate.

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