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Am J Hum Genet. Jul 1990; 47(1): 155–160.
PMCID: PMC1683741

Parental origin of de novo constitutional deletions of chromosomal band 11p13.


One-half of all cases of Wilms tumor (WT), a childhood kidney tumor, show loss of heterozygosity at chromosomal band 11p13 loci, suggesting that mutation of one allele and subsequent mutation or loss of the homologous allele are important events in the development of these tumors. The previously reported nonrandom loss of maternal alleles in these tumors implied that the primary mutation occurred on the paternally derived chromosome and that it was "unmasked" by loss of the normal maternal allele. This, in turn, suggests that the paternally derived allele is more mutable than the maternal one. To investigate whether germinal mutations are seen with equal frequency in maternally versus paternally inherited chromosomes, we determined the parental origin of the de novo germinal 11p13 deletions in eight children by typing lymphocyte DNA from these children and from their parents for 11p13 RFLPs. In seven of the eight cases, the de novo deletion was of paternal origin. The one case of maternal origin was unremarkable in terms of the size or extent of the 11p13 deletion, and the child did develop WT. Transmission of 11p13 deletions by both maternal and paternal carriers of balanced translocations has been reported, although maternal inheritance predominates. These data, in addition to the general preponderance of paternally derived, de novo mutations at other loci, suggest that the increased frequency of paternal deletions we observed is due to an increased germinal mutation rate in males.

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