05/20/2015 23:47 EDT | Updated 05/20/2016 01:12 EDT

Alberta university researchers collect saliva to find cause of stuttering

CALGARY - Alberta researchers are collecting DNA samples from people who stutter in an effort to learn more about what causes it.Deryk Beal, executive director for the University of Alberta’s Institute for Stuttering Treatment and Research, says the DNA will be extracted from saliva samples.The university says the databank is the first of its kind and is aimed at advancing research into the genetics of stuttering, which experts say is seldom studied and poorly understood.Beal says the family history information they are collecting will allow them to be strategic about which DNA samples they'll analyse first.For instance, they'll consider a strong genetic influence in a family where there is a history of stuttering.Scientists say previous genetic breakthroughs have identified the cause of other disorders but that it’s much more difficult to unlock more complex disorders such as stuttering because it may or may not be present even if someone carries the gene.Funding for the actual DNA analysis of the samples has not yet be secured.When funding is found, the analysis will be done at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio.(Global Calgary, CTV Calgary)