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Am J Hum Genet. Dec 1992; 51(6): 1377–1385.
PMCID: PMC1682912

Cleft lip with or without cleft palate: associations with transforming growth factor alpha and retinoic acid receptor loci.


The first association study of cleft lip with or without cleft palate (CL/P), with candidate genes, found an association with the transforming growth-factor alpha (TGFA) locus. This finding has since been replicated, in whole or in part, in three independent studies. Here we extend our original analysis of the TGFA TaqI RFLP to two other TGFA RFLPs and seven other RFLPs at five candidate genes in 117 nonsyndromic cases of CL/P and 113 controls. The other candidate genes were the retinoic acid receptor (RARA), the bcl-2 oncogene, and the homeobox genes 2F, 2G, and EN2. Significant associations with the TGFA TaqI and BamHI RFLPs were confirmed, although associations of clefting with previously reported haplotypes did not reach significance. Of particular interest, in view of the known teratogenic role of retinoic acid, was a significant association with the RARA PstI RFLP (P = .016; not corrected for multiple testing). The effect on risk of the A2 allele appears to be additive, and although the A2A2 homozygote only has an odds ratio of about 2 and recurrence risk to first-degree relatives (lambda 1) of 1.06, because it is so common it may account for as much as a third of the attributable risk of clefting. There is no evidence of interaction between the TGFA and RARA polymorphisms on risk, and jointly they appear to account for almost half the attributable risk of clefting.

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