Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
BJOG. 2002 Nov;109(11):1244-9.

Prenatal diagnosis for risk of spinal muscular atrophy.

Author information

  • 1Genetics and Research Institute, Hospital de Sant Pau, Barcelona, Spain.



Prenatal diagnosis of spinal muscular atrophy is usually performed in high risk couples by detection of a homozygous deletion in the survival motor neurone gene (SMN1). However, other relatives at risk of being carriers very often request genetic counselling and the possibility of prenatal diagnosis. The aim of this study was to validate a SMN1 gene quantitative test to help the couples formed by one spinal muscular atrophy carrier and a partner of the general population (1/200 potential risk) to achieve a less ambiguous risk result for the pregnancy.


Spinal muscular atrophy carrier studies in at-risk individuals.


Department of Genetics and Gynaecology and Obstetrics in a large university hospital.


Seventy-nine obligate carriers (more than one affected child with deletion in the offspring) and 58 non-carriers (relatives of spinal muscular atrophy families defined by marker studies) were tested to set up a quantitative analysis. The method was applied in different situations in 126 members from 34 families with spinal muscular atrophy patients.


DNA studies of the SMNI gene by marker analysis and quantitative assay.


To determine double (non-carrier) or single dose (carrier) of exon 7 of the SMN1 gene in relatives of spinal muscular atrophy patients. Bayesian calculation of risk.


The sensitivity and specificity of the method were 96% and 100%, respectively. Studies on different couples with an a priori risk of 1/200 allowed us to reduce the final risk to 1/5000 or to increase it to 1/4.


The quantitative method can be used to achieve a less ambiguous risk in pregnancies with a 1/200 risk and in families where no sample is available to study the index case. Screening of gamete donors when the recipient is a known carrier should also be considered.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Free full text
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Wiley
    Loading ...
    Support Center