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Brazilian Journal of Genetics

Print version ISSN 0100-8455On-line version ISSN 1678-4502


MINGRONI-NETTO, Regina C.; PAVANELLO, Rita C.M.; OTTO, Paulo A.  and  VIANNA-MORGANTE, Angela M.. Experience with molecular and cytogenetic diagnosis of fragile X syndrome in Brazilian families. Braz. J. Genet. [online]. 1997, vol.20, n.4, pp.-. ISSN 0100-8455.

We report on the cytogenetic and DNA analysis of 55 families with the fragile X (FMR-1 locus) mutation (318 individuals and 15 chorionic villi samples). A total of 129 males were investigated, 54 mentally normal and 75 presenting mental retardation. Among the 54 normal males, 11 had the premutation, and none expressed the fragile site. The full mutation was detected in 73 retarded males, and 14 (18%) presented a premutation along with the full mutation (mosaics). All of them manifested the fragile site. The frequencies of fragile site expression correlated positively with the sizes of the expansion of the CGG repeats (D). Among 153 normal females, 85 were found to be heterozygous for the premutation and 15 had the full mutation. In the premutated females the fragile site was not observed or it occurred at frequencies that did not differ from those observed in 53 noncarriers. Cytogenetic analysis was thus ineffective for the diagnosis of premutated males or females. Among the 51 heterozygotes for the full mutation, 36 (70%) had some degree of mental impairment. As in males, a positive correlation was detected between the frequencies of fragile site manifestation and the size of the expansion. However, the cytogenetic test was less effective for the detection of fully mutated females, than in the case of males, since 14% false negative results were found among females. Segregation analysis confirmed that the risk of mental retardation in the offspring of heterozygotes increases with the length of D. The average observed frequency of mental retardation in the offspring of all heterozygotes was 30%. There was no indication of meiotic drive occurring in female carriers, since the number of individuals who inherited the mutation did not differ from the number of those inheriting the normal allele. No new mutations were detected in the 55 genealogies studied here.

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