Genetic heterogeneity of congenital hearing impairment in Algerians from the Ghardaïa province

Int J Pediatr Otorhinolaryngol. 2018 Sep:112:1-5. doi: 10.1016/j.ijporl.2018.06.012. Epub 2018 Jun 12.


Background: Consanguinity rate is high in Algeria, and the population is thus at high risk for genetic diseases transmitted on an autosomal recessive mode. Inherited congenital hearing impairment (HI) is a highly heterogeneous disorder, which affects approximately 1 in 800 Algerian newborns. Several hundreds of genes responsible for deafness have been reported among which more than one hundred are responsible for isolated deafness, of which 19 have already been reported to be involved in the Algerian population. This study focuses on patients from the Ghardaïa province, an ethnically and geographically isolated region of Southern Algeria that has the highest consanguinity rate in the country (56%).

Methods: Eleven families, with at least two related members experiencing moderate to profound congenital HI, were recruited and screened for mutations in known HI genes.

Results: A preliminary screening for common mutations in GJB2 and GJB6 identified the prevalent GJB2:c.35delG mutation in four families. Targeted exome sequencing further identified the causal mutations in the remaining seven families: CIB2:c.97C > T; p.(Arg33*), MYO7A:c.470+1G > A; p.(?), and SLC26A4:c.410C > T; p.(Ser137Leu) biallelic mutations in two families each, and a TECTA:c.2743 A > G; p.(Ile915Val) monoallelic mutation in the only family with autosomal dominant transmission of the HI. Of note, the missense mutations of SLC26A4 and TECTA had not been previously reported.

Conclusion: These results further substantiate the genetic heterogeneity of HI, even in reportedly isolated populations. However, several families may harbor the same mutations as a result of a long history of marriages between relatives. This study has important implications for the HI molecular diagnosis strategy, and to develop genetic counseling for families originating from the Ghardaïa province of Algeria.

Keywords: Algeria; Consanguinity; Genetic heterogeneity; Hearing impairment.

MeSH terms

  • Algeria
  • Calcium-Binding Proteins / genetics
  • Connexin 26
  • Connexins / genetics
  • Consanguinity
  • Extracellular Matrix Proteins / genetics
  • Female
  • GPI-Linked Proteins / genetics
  • Genetic Heterogeneity*
  • Genetic Markers
  • Hearing Loss / genetics*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Membrane Transport Proteins / genetics
  • Mutation
  • Myosin VIIa
  • Myosins / genetics
  • Sulfate Transporters


  • CIB2 protein, human
  • Calcium-Binding Proteins
  • Connexins
  • Extracellular Matrix Proteins
  • GJB2 protein, human
  • GPI-Linked Proteins
  • Genetic Markers
  • MYO7A protein, human
  • Membrane Transport Proteins
  • Myosin VIIa
  • SLC26A4 protein, human
  • Sulfate Transporters
  • TECTA protein, human
  • Connexin 26
  • Myosins