Fragile X syndrome (FXS) is the most common hereditary form of mental retardation. Molecular analysis of the FMR1 gene has now been applied to diagnosis and carrier detection. Because treatment is not feasible, prevention of FXS by prenatal diagnosis of carrier women early during pregnancy is important. The aim of this pilot study was to ascertain the prevalence of mutant FMR1 gene in normal population of Taiwan and to evaluate the efficacy of a betaine-based polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and nonradioactive Southern blot assays. The DNA was randomly and anonymously collected from 100 women and 100 men. The results showed 62% of the women were heterozygous for the CGG-repeat size in FMR1 gene. One of 300 X chromosomes in this study showed premutation, with 95 CGG repeats. All other chromosomes have CGG repeats ranging from 19 to 52, with eight chromosomes (3%) having more than 40 CGG repeats. The most prevalent allele has 29 repeats (48.1%), followed by 30 (24.0%) and 36 (9.5%), respectively. The results of this study reconfirmed previous reports that the prevalent FMR1 CGG repeat alleles in Chinese population are different from that of other populations. However, the prevalence of premutation gene seems to be comparable among them. The betaine-based PCR could minimize the intrinsic problem of preferential amplification and may reliably determine the different allele repeats in heterozygous females. This nonradioactive Southern blot protocol is safe, efficient, and inexpensive. However, further technical improvement may be needed to be more cost-effective for a wide screening of all pregnant women.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Pathology and Forensic Medicine
- Molecular Biology
- Cell Biology