What we do Research projects The genetics of cleft lip and palate Despite cleft lip and palate being one of the most common birth defects, surprisingly little is understood about the underlying causes. The aim of this CLEFT funded study is to understand which genes or genetic changes causes cleft lip and palate. We are doing this by studying large families, where more than one family member has a cleft, to see what is commonly inherited. More work needs to be done to fully understand the role of this gene in the development of the palate. This should mean that in the future we can use this knowledge to identify babies at risk and, if necessary, intervene before birth to prevent clefts occurring. Click on the link to read about the FOXF2 gene discovery, found in a family of seven generations in Egypt.