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Am J Hum Genet. 1989 Sep;45(3):348-53.

Association of genetic variation of the transforming growth factor-alpha gene with cleft lip and palate.

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Department of Pediatrics, University of Iowa, Iowa City 52242.


Complex segregation analysis of pedigrees having nonsyndromic cleft lip with or without cleft palate (CL/P) (Chung et al. 1986; Marazita et al. 1986) has shown that a major-locus model best explains the observed recurrence of CL/P in Caucasian families. To identify this major gene, we compared the frequencies of 12 RFLPs at five loci-epidermal growth factor, transforming growth factor-alpha, epidermal growth factor receptor, glucocorticoid receptor, and estrogen receptor-in both a group of 80 subjects with nonsyndromic CL/P and 102 controls. These candidate genes were selected because studies in rodents had suggested their possible involvement in palatogenesis. A significant association was observed between two RFLPs at the transforming-growth-factor-alpha (TGFA) locus and the occurrence of clefting (P = .0047 and P = .0052). This suggests that either the TGFA gene itself or DNA sequences in an adjacent region contribute to the development of a portion of cases of CL/P in humans and provides an opportunity to begin to examine the molecular events underlying lip and palate formation.

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