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‘Tone Deaf’ Could Be Inherited Trait

(Photo by Joe Raedle/ Getty Images)

(Photo by Joe Raedle/ Getty Images)

(Dr. Brian McDonough) Dr. Brian McDonough
Dr. Brian McDonough has been medical editor at KYW Newsradio for more...
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By Dr. Brian McDonough, Medical Editor

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) - Are you tone deaf? There might be a good reason.

A Finnish study that looked at the association between genetics and the perception of sound and music has raised some eyebrows.

The genetic scan actually focused on the ability to discriminate pitch, duration and sound patterns which have been called the three primary capacities for music perception. The researchers broke it down very specifically – the strongest association was found at a gene known as 3q21.3 – a region that is near a gene known to be important in the development of the inner ear. They also identified additional regions with genes mostly related to the auditory pathway.

Now you have an excuse if you can’t sing. The study shows that musical aptitude is a complex behavioral trait and is at least partially inherited.

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