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Semin Pediatr Neurol. 2001 Sep;8(3):128-34.

Molecular mechanisms in neurologic disorders.

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Department of Pediatrics, Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Arizona College of Medicine and the Steele Memorial Children's Research Center, Tucson 85724-5073, USA.


Although many pediatric neurologic disorders, such as epilepsy and mental retardation, are the result of a combination of genetic and environmental factors, many others are the result of mutations of single genes. Most of these single gene traits are inherited in autosomal dominant, autosomal recessive, or X-linked fashion. The diversity of mutations that are responsible for these diseases produces variability in phenotypic expression. However, there are other important features of many neurologic disorders that cannot be explained by standard models of mendelian inheritance. This review focuses on recently described mechanisms, such as genomic imprinting, germline mosaicism, mitochondrial inheritance, and triplet repeat expansion. The diagnostic evaluation, prognostic significance, and recurrence risk for specific neurogenetic disorders is correlated with these underlying disease mechanisms.

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