Duchenne and Becker muscular dystrophies (DMD and BMD) are caused by defects in the dystrophin gene. About two-thirds of the affected patients have large deletions or duplications, which occur in the 5' and central portion of the gene. The nondeletion/duplication cases are most likely the result of smaller mutations that cannot be identified by current diagnostic screening strategies. We screened ~80% of the dystrophin coding sequence for small mutations in 158 patients without deletions or duplications and identified 29 mutations. The study indicates that many of the DMD and the majority of the BMD small mutations lie in noncoding regions of the gent. All of the mutations identified were unique to single patients, and most of the mutations resulted in protein truncation. We did not find a clustering of small mutations similar to the deletion distribution but found >40% of the small mutations 3' of exon 55. The extent of protein truncation caused by the 3' mutations did not determine the phenotype, since even the exon 76 nonsense mutation resulted in the severe DMD phenotype. Our study confirms that the dystrophin gene is subject to a high rate of mutation in CpG sequences. As a consequence of not finding any hotspots or prevalent small mutations, we conclude that it is presently not possible to perform direct carrier and prenatal diagnostics for many families without deletions or duplications.
|Number of pages
|American Journal of Human Genetics
|Published - Jul 1995
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