OzCleft - A new and exciting research project in Melbourne

Ozcleft aims to uncover new genetic causes of cleft lip and palate. Researchers now know that a more thorough examination of family members can reveal some subtle similarities with the child with a cleft, even though they do not appear to have any clefts themselves. For example; it is well known that children with clefts of the lip and palate may have a missing tooth (usually but not always in the area of the cleft), and now there is some evidence that other members of that individual’s family may also have missing, small or misshapen teeth. Non-cleft family members may also have nasal speech, slight differences in their lip muscles and/or differences in face shape/size. A better understanding of these subtle features may help researchers identify new genes involved in clefting. This would also improve our genetic counselling of the family and overall management of their child’s condition.