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J Inherit Metab Dis. 1989;12(2):131-8.

Prospective ascertainment of complete and partial serum biotinidase deficiency in the newborn.

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Québec Network of Genetic Medicine, Division of Medical Genetics, Montreal Children's Hospital, Canada.


We screened 163,000 newborn filter-paper blood samples for serum biotinidase deficiency (McKusick 25326) and found 15 probands: three had complete deficiency (incidence 18.4 cases per million live births, 95% confidence interval 4-54 cases per million); the others had partial deficiency. The positive predictive value of the test for either form of biotinidase deficiency was 9.86%. We found seasonal variation in biotinidase activity in filter-paper blood samples. The cost per test was Can.$0.27 (1987 dollar value) and per case of complete deficiency ascertained, $15,500. Family studies indicated that complete serum biotinidase deficiency is a homozygous phenotype and partial deficiency is the heterozygous form. Homozygous cases were treated with biotin and have shown no clinical manifestations (55 patient-months of observation). None of the heterozygotes (n = 42, age 3 months - 62 years) has clinical manifestations. The number of heterozygotes found by screening was much less than predicted probably because the screening test detects mainly the samples with very low (outlier) biotinidase activity. The variant allele(s) for biotinidase deficiency was more common in French Canadians than in other ethnic groups in Quebec; there was no evidence of regional clustering or founder effect.

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