Researchers at the University of Helsinki and the Folkhalsan Research Center have discovered the cause for a rare type of deafness in Rottweilers called nonsyndromic early-onset hereditary canine hearing loss.

The study, published in May in the journal Human Genetics, identified a variant in the LOXHD1 gene that affects the function of the cilia of the cochlear sensory cells.

The finding is significant because it means that dogs used for breeding can now be tested for the defect so it isn’t passed on to future puppies. The discovery may also help researchers better understand hearing loss in humans.

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