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Am J Hum Genet. 1992 Oct;51(4):687-700.

Genotype-phenotype relationships in human red/green color-vision defects: molecular and psychophysical studies.

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Department of Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle 98195.


The relationship between the molecular structure of the X-linked red and green visual pigment genes and color-vision phenotype as ascertained by anomaloscopy was studied in 64 color-defective males. The great majority of red-green defects were associated with either the deletion of the green-pigment gene or the formation of 5' red-green hybrid genes or 5' green-red hybrid genes. A rapid PCR-based method allowed detection of hybrid genes, including those undetectable by Southern blot analysis, as well as more precise localization of the fusion points in hybrid genes. Protan color-vision defects appeared always associated with 5' red-green hybrid genes. Carriers of single red-green hybrid genes with fusion in introns 1-4 were protanopes. However, carriers of hybrid genes with red-green fusions in introns 2, 3, or 4 in the presence of additional normal green genes manifested as either protanopes or protanomalous trichromats, with the majority being protanomalous. Deutan defects were associated with green-pigment gene deletions, with 5' green-red hybrid genes, or, rarely, with 5' green-red-green hybrid genes. Complete green-pigment gene deletions or green-red fusions in intron 1 were usually associated with deuteranopia, although we unexpectedly found three carriers of a single red-pigment gene without any green-pigment genes to be deuteranomalous trichromats. All but one of the other deuteranomalous subjects had green-red hybrid genes with intron 1, 2, 3, or 4 fusions, as well as several normal green-pigment genes. The one exception had a grossly normal gene array, presumably with a more subtle mutation. Amino acid differences in exon 5 largely determine whether a hybrid gene will be more redlike or more greenlike in phenotype. Various discrepancies as to severity (dichromacy or trichromacy) remain unexplained but may arise because of variability of expression, postreceptoral variation, or both. When phenotypic color-vision defects exist, the kind of defect (protan or deutan) can be predicted by molecular analysis. Red-green hybrid genes are probably always associated with protan color-vision defects, while the presence of green-red hybrid genes may not always manifest phenotypically with color-vision defects. Four subjects who were found to have 5' green-red hybrid genes in addition to normal red- and green-pigment genes had normal color vision as determined by anomaloscopy. These were discovered among a group of 129 Caucasian males who had been recruited as volunteers for a vision study.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 400 WORDS).

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