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Am J Med Genet A. 2005 Sep 15;138(1):18-20.

Non-skewed X-inactivation may cause mental retardation in a female carrier of X-linked alpha-thalassemia/mental retardation syndrome (ATR-X): X-inactivation study of nine female carriers of ATR-X.

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Department of Medical Genetics, Shinshu University School of Medicine, Matsumoto, Japan.


X-linked alpha-thalassemia/mental retardation syndrome (ATR-X) is a syndromic form of X-linked mental retardation. We investigated the X-inactivation status of nine female ATR-X carriers by methylation-specific PCR of the HUMARA gene. Six carriers demonstrated a skewed X-inactivation pattern (>90:10) and one showed a non-skewed pattern (72:28), while two were uninformative because of homozygosity for the CAG repeat polymorphic alleles in the HUMARA. Only the carrier mother who showed non-skewed X-inactivation had moderate mental retardation. These findings suggest that mutations in ATRX may cause mental retardation in females, if the X chromosome carrying mutated ATRX is not properly inactivated.

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