Newsweek

Genes Linked to Synesthesia Discovered

The new work offers the most advanced genetic insight yet about this intriguing condition.
Runners participate in the annual Color Run in Centennial Park in Sydney on August 20, 2017. People with synesthesia "see" colors attached to letters and numbers.
color run paint Source: PETER PARKS/AFP/Getty Images

Carol Steen’s father once corrected her about the color of the number five. That number is yellow, she told him. “And my father said, ‘No, it’s yellow ocher.’” Her dentist has done a root canal because she said her tooth was “glowing orange.” 

Steen, her father and some of her cousins’ children have a trait called synesthesia—and the source may be their shared DNA. A team of scientists Monday in that six genes, including some involved in brain cells' growth and connections, may be linked with synesthesia.  

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