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Am J Med Genet A. 2011 Jul;155A(7):1581-7. doi: 10.1002/ajmg.a.34036. Epub 2011 Jun 2.

Genetic contribution for non-syndromic cleft lip with or without cleft palate (NS CL/P) in different regions of Brazil and implications for association studies.

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Human Genome Research Center, Institute of Biosciences, University of São Paulo, Brazil.


Non-syndromic cleft lip with or without cleft palate (NS CL/P) is a complex disease in which heritability estimates vary widely depending on the population studied. To evaluate the importance of genetic contribution to NS CL/P in the Brazilian population, we conducted a study with 1,042 families from five different locations (Santarém, Fortaleza, Barbalha, Maceió, and Rio de Janeiro). We also evaluated the role of consanguinity and ethnic background. The proportion of familial cases varied significantly across locations, with the highest values found in Santarém (44%) and the lowest in Maceió (23%). Heritability estimates showed a higher genetic contribution to NS CL/P in Barbalha (85%), followed by Santarém (71%), Rio de Janeiro (70%), Fortaleza (64%), and Maceió (45%). Ancestry was not correlated with the occurrence of NS CL/P or with the variability in heritability. Only in Rio de Janeiro was the coefficient of inbreeding significantly larger in NS CL/P families than in the local population. Recurrence risk for the total sample was approximately 1.5-1.6%, varying according to the location studied (0.6-0.7% in Maceió to 2.2-2.8% in Barbalha). Our findings show that the degree of genetic contribution to NS CL/P varies according to the geographic region studied, and this difference cannot be attributed to consanguinity or ancestry. These findings suggest that Barbalha is a promising region for genetic studies. The data presented here will be useful in interpreting results from molecular analyses and show that care must be taken when pooling samples from different populations for association studies.

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