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Am J Hum Genet. 1996 Oct;59(4):905-11.

Search for unstable DNA in schizophrenia families with evidence for genetic anticipation.

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  • 1Neurogenetics Section, Clarke Institute of Psychiatry, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.


Evidence for genetic anticipation has recently become an important subject of research in clinical psychiatric genetics. Renewed interest in anticipation was evoked by molecular genetic findings of a novel type of mutation termed "unstable DNA." The unstable DNA model can be construed as the "best fit" for schizophrenia twin and family epidemiological data. We have performed a large-scale Southern blot hybridization, asymmetrical PCR-based, and repeat expansion-detection screening for (CAG)n/(CTG)n and (CCG)n/(CGG)n expansions in eastern Canadian schizophrenia multiplex families demonstrating genetic anticipation. There were no differences in (CAG)n/(CTG)n and (CCG)n/(CGG)n pattern distribution either between affected and unaffected individuals or across generations. Our findings do not support the hypothesis that large (CAG)n/(CTG)n or (CCG)n/(CGG)n expansions are the major etiologic factor in schizophrenia. A separate set of experiments directed to the analysis of small (30-130 trinucleotides), Huntington disease-type expansions in individual genes is required in order to fully exclude the presence of (CAG)n/(CTG)n- or (CCG)n/(CGG)n-type unstable mutation.

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