image 1DNA, or deoxyribonucleic acid, is the information contained in every cell in your body. DNA is wound into chromosomes and genes are sections of chromosomes that make you who you are. Every person gets two copies of each gene, one from your mother and one from your father. Most of the ~20,000 genes are the same from person to person; the small differences between them that make you unique. Scientists have discovered which genes are responsible for your hair and eye colors, your height and many other traits and disorders.

Genetic disorders like red/green color blindness are relatively easy to explain; there is one gene involved. Things like reading ability are a little more complex. There are possibly dozens of genes involved in determining how well you read and part of your reading ability is determined by your environment. By comparing genetic information, family history and reading tests we hope to develop a screening test to determine one’s risk for reading problems before they occur.

The GRaD Study uses a saliva (spit) sample to collect DNA. The human mouth offers a large number of rapidly dividing cells for examination. We will collect saliva by asking the subject to spit into a collection tube. We only need a little bit of saliva, about 1/2 teaspoon. We will compare these results to family history and reading test results in order to get a better picture of what gene variations are related to reading ability.

For more information about DNA, Genes and Genetics you may visit the following sites:

The National Human Genome Research institute at:

The Center for Genetics Information (Australia)

The Student Guide to the Human Genome Project