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J Mol Diagn. 2012 Nov;14(6):560-8. doi: 10.1016/j.jmoldx.2012.05.003. Epub 2012 Aug 23.

Reliable and sensitive detection of fragile X (expanded) alleles in clinical prenatal DNA samples with a fast turnaround time.

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  • 1Center for Medical Genetics, UZ Brussel, Brussels, Belgium.


This study evaluated a large set of blinded, previously analyzed prenatal DNA samples with a novel, CGG triplet-repeat primed (TP)-PCR assay (Amplidex FMR1 PCR Kit; Asuragen, Austin, TX). This cohort of 67 fetal DNAs contained 18 full mutations (270 to 1100 repeats, including 1 mosaic), 12 premutations (59 to 150 repeats), 9 intermediate mutations (54 to 58 repeats), and 28 normal samples (17 to 50 repeats, including 3 homozygous female samples). TP-PCR accurately identified FMR1 genotypes, ranging from normal to full- mutation alleles, with a 100% specificity (95% CI, 85.0% to 100%) and a 97.4% sensitivity (95% CI, 84.9% to 99.9%) in comparison with Southern blot analysis results. Exact sizing was possible for a spectrum of normal, intermediate, and premutation (up to 150 repeats) alleles, but CGG repeat numbers >200 are only identified as full mutations. All homozygous alleles were correctly resolved. The assay is also able to reproducibly detect a 2.5% premutation and a 3% full-mutation mosaicism in a normal male background, but a large premutation in a full male mutation background was masked when the amount of the latter was >5%. Implementation of this TP-PCR will significantly reduce reflex testing using Southern blot analyses. Additional testing with methylation-informative techniques might still be needed for a few cases with (large) premutations or full mutations.

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