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Am J Hum Genet. 2000 Jan;66(1):167-75.

Meiotic segregation analysis of RB1 alleles in retinoblastoma pedigrees by use of single-sperm typing.

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Laboratoire de Génétique Moléculaire, Institut de Biologie, and Institut de Génétique Humaine, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, Unité Propre de Recherche 1142, 34060 Montpellier, France.


In hereditary retinoblastoma, different epidemiological studies have indicated a preferential paternal transmission of mutant retinoblastoma alleles to offspring, suggesting the occurrence of a meiotic drive. To investigate this mechanism, we analyzed sperm samples from six individuals from five unrelated families affected with hereditary retinoblastoma. Single-sperm typing techniques were performed for each sample by study of two informative short tandem repeats located either in or close to the retinoblastoma gene (RB1). The segregation probability of mutant RB1 alleles in sperm samples was assessed by use of the SPERMSEG program, which includes experimental parameters, recombination fractions between the markers, and segregation parameters. A total of 2,952 single sperm from the six donors were analyzed. We detected a significant segregation distortion in the data as a whole (P=.0099) and a significant heterogeneity in the segregation rate across donors (.0092). Further analysis shows that this result can be explained by segregation distortion in favor of the normal allele in one donor only and that it does not provide evidence of a significant segregation distortion in the other donors. The segregation distortion favoring the mutant RB1 allele does not seem to occur during spermatogenesis, and, thus, meiotic drive may result either from various mechanisms, including a fertilization advantage or a better mobility in sperm bearing a mutant RB1 gene, or from the existence of a defectively imprinted gene located on the human X chromosome.

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