The neuronal migration hypothesis of dyslexia: a critical evaluation thirty years on
Guidi L., Velayos-Baeza A., Martinez-Garay I., Monaco A., Paracchini S., Bishop D., Molnar Z.
The capacity for language is one of the key features underlying the complexity of human cognition and its evolution. However, little is known about the neurobiological mechanisms that mediate normal or impaired linguistic ability. For developmental dyslexia, early post-mortem studies conducted in the 1980s linked the disorder to subtle defects in the migration of neurons in the developing neocortex. These early studies were reinforced by human genetic analyses that identified dyslexia susceptibility genes and subsequent evidence of their involvement in neuronal migration. In this review, we examine recent experimental evidence that does not support the link between dyslexia and neuronal migration. We critically evaluate gene function studies conducted in rodent models and draw attention to the lack of robust evidence from histopathological and imaging studies in humans. Our review suggests that the neuronal migration hypothesis of dyslexia should be reconsidered, and the anatomical and genetic basis of dyslexia should be approached with a fresh start.