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Gene. 2012 Dec 15;511(2):470-4. doi: 10.1016/j.gene.2012.09.012. Epub 2012 Sep 23.

Molecular basis of albinism in India: evaluation of seven potential candidate genes and some new findings.

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  • 1Molecular & Human Genetics Division, CSIR-Indian Institute of Chemical Biology, Kolkata-700032, India.


Albinism represents a group of genetic disorders with a broad spectrum of hypopigmentary phenotypes dependent on the genetic background of the patients. Oculocutaneous albinism (OCA) patients have little or no pigment in their eyes, skin and hair, whereas ocular albinism (OA) primarily presents the ocular symptoms, and the skin and hair color may vary from near normal to very fair. Mutations in genes directly or indirectly regulating melanin production are responsible for different forms of albinism with overlapping clinical features. In this study, 27 albinistic individuals from 24 families were screened for causal variants by a PCR-sequencing based approach. TYR, OCA2, TYRP1, SLC45A2, SLC24A5, TYRP2 and SILV were selected as candidate genes. We identified 5 TYR and 3 OCA2 mutations, majority in homozygous state, in 8 unrelated patients including a case of autosomal recessive ocular albinism (AROA). A homozygous 4-nucleotide novel insertion in SLC24A5 was detected in a person showing with extreme cutaneous hypopigmentation. A potential causal variant was identified in the TYRP2 gene in a single patient. Haplotype analyses in the patients carrying homozygous mutations in the classical OCA genes suggested founder effect. This is the first report of an Indian AROA patient harboring a mutation in OCA2. Our results also reveal for the first time that mutations in SLC24A5 could contribute to extreme hypopigmentation in humans.

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