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Clin Biochem Rev. 2011 Aug;32(3):135-62.

The fragile x mental retardation syndrome 20 years after the FMR1 gene discovery: an expanding universe of knowledge.

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Réseau de Médecine Génétique Appliquée, Fonds de Recherche en Santé du Québec;


The fragile X mental retardation (FXMR) syndrome is one of the most frequent causes of mental retardation. Affected individuals display a wide range of additional characteristic features including behavioural and physical phenotypes, and the extent to which individuals are affected is highly variable. For these reasons, elucidation of the pathophysiology of this disease has been an important challenge to the scientific community. 1991 marks the year of the discovery of both the FMR1 gene mutations involved in this disease, and of their dynamic nature. Although a mouse model for the disease has been available for 16 years and extensive research has been performed on the FMR1 protein (FMRP), we still understand little about how the disease develops, and no treatment has yet been shown to be effective. In this review, we summarise current knowledge on FXMR with an emphasis on the technical challenges of molecular diagnostics, on its prevalence and dynamics among populations, and on the potential of screening for FMR1 mutations.

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