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A mutation in the FOXP2 gene has been found to be responsible for the autosomal dominant inheritance of a severe form of speech and language impairment in a family known as KE. We genotyped the FOXP2 mutation for 270 4-year-old children selected for low general language scores from a representative community sample of more than 18,000 children. No language-impaired child had the FOXP2 mutation. Although rare severe disorders such as those of the KE family are often caused by a single gene, common disorders such as language impairment are more likely to be the quantitative extreme of the same multiple genetic factors responsible for heritability throughout the distribution.