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Brain Dev. 2005 Apr;27(3):207-10.

Absence of causative mutations and presence of autism-related allele in FOXP2 in Japanese autistic patients.

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  • 1Department of Pediatrics, Jichi Medical School, 3311-1 Yakushiji, Minamikawachi, Tochigi 329-0498, Japan.


We analyzed the FOXP2 gene, which encodes a putative transcription factor containing a polyglutamine tract and a forkhead DNA-binding domain, for a possible causative mutation in autism. FOXP2 was reported to be mutated in patients with a severe speech and language disorder. FOXP2 was located on chromosome 7q31, which is one of the loci involved in autism. Autism and specific language impairment share some of their clinical phenotypes. In addition, FOXP2 was expressed abundantly in the brain. We screened all of the exons of FOXP2 for causative mutations in 53 Japanese autistic patients using denaturing high-performance liquid chromatography and direct sequencing. A delCAA in exon 5 causing one glutamine deletion in the first polyglutamine tract was detected in four patients and in 2 of 50 control individuals. The frequency of the TT allele with the G to T base change in intron 15 was significantly high in the autistic population. The other base changes included one silent base change (A569G) in exon 5 and three in introns. Our results may suggest a relationship between autism and the FOXP2 gene or a gene located nearby.

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