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Am J Hum Genet. 1989 Jun;44(6):806-10.

Occupational hydrocarbon exposure among fathers of Prader-Willi syndrome patients with and without deletions of 15q.

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Department of Pediatrics, University of Arizona College of Medicine, Tucson 84516.


Prader-Willi syndrome (PWS) is a multiple-anomaly disorder in which 50%-70% of cases are associated with a de novo interstitial deletion [del 15(q11-13)] on prometaphase cytogenetic analysis, the remainder having apparently normal chromosomes. In most instances, the paternally derived chromosome has become deleted in the affected child, suggesting the possibility of a predisposing environmental factor. Strakowski and Butler found an increased incidence of paternal periconceptional employment in hydrocarbon-exposing occupations in this population. This observation may suggest a causal relationship to PWS. To determine whether this association may distinguish the cytogenetically different groups, we identified 81 patients with the disorder who were physically and cytogenetically examined in three centers, and we compared the frequency of possible periconceptional occupational hydrocarbon exposure between fathers of patients who demonstrate a 15q deletion and those who do not. There was no statistically significant difference between the cytogenetically different groups. In both groups, approximately half of the fathers had been employed in hydrocarbon-exposing jobs. These findings suggest lack of etiologic heterogeneity between the cytogenetically different groups for PWS and affirm the need to seek submicroscopic deletions through molecular genetic studies. These data also provide additional evidence that hydrocarbon exposure among fathers of children with PWS may be causally related to the disorder, and they also suggest the need for more accurate assessment of exposure via a large, controlled study.

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