The neuronal migration hypothesis of dyslexia: a critical evaluation 30 years on

Luiz G. Guidi, Antonio Velayos-Baeza, Isabel Martinez-Garay, Anthony P. Monaca, Silvia Paracchini, Dorothy V.M. Bishop, Zoltán Molnár

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)
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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 postmortem 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 neurobiological basis of dyslexia should be approached with a fresh start.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3212-3233
Number of pages22
JournalEuropean Journal of Neuroscience
Issue number10
Early online date6 Oct 2018
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2018


  • Dyslexia
  • Gene function
  • Neuronal migration
  • Neuropathology
  • RNA interference


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