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Mol Genet Metab. 1999 Aug;67(4):324-33.

Methionine synthase: high-resolution mapping of the human gene and evaluation as a candidate locus for neural tube defects.

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Genetics and Molecular Biology Branch, National Human Genome Research Institute, Bethesda, Maryland 20892, USA.


Periconceptual folate supplementation has been found to prevent the occurrence of many neural tube defects (NTDs). Consequently, genetic variation in folate metabolism genes is expected to contribute to the risk for neural tube defects. Methionine synthase catalyzes the vitamin B(12)-dependent conversion of homocysteine and 5-methyltetrahydrofolate to methionine and tetrahydrofolate. The observation that homocysteine and vitamin B(12) levels are independent predictors of NTD risk suggested that methionine synthase could be a candidate gene for NTDs. To assess the role of the MS gene in NTDs, we performed high-resolution physical mapping of the MS locus, isolated highly polymorphic markers linked to the MS gene, and tested for an association between specific MS alleles and NTDs. We mapped the MS gene to a position between 909 and 913 cR(10000) on chromosome 1 by radiation hybrid mapping. Polymorphic markers D1S1567 and D1S1568 map to locations no more than 900 and 194 kb from the MS gene, respectively. The segregation of these polymorphic markers was measured in 85 Irish NTD families. No allele of either marker showed a significant association with NTDs using the transmission disequilibrium test. A lack of association was also observed for the D1919G missense mutation within the gene. Our results suggest that inherited variation in the MS gene does not contribute to NTD risk in this population.

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