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Am J Hum Genet. 1989 Apr;44(4):518-21.

Genetic homogeneity at the Friedreich ataxia locus on chromosome 9.

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Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics, St. Mary's Hospital, University of London, England.


Classical Friedreich ataxia, a progressive, neurodegenerative disorder involving both the central and peripheral nervous systems, has been subclassified according to the observed clinical heterogeneity. The variations in the age at onset and in the spectrum and severity of symptoms have previously been interpreted as evidence of genetic heterogeneity. We have studied the linkage between the disorder and closely linked DNA markers in families of distinct ethnic origins, including the "typical" French-Canadians and the Acadian population of Louisiana. The disease in these two populations, both of continental French origin, has a very similar initial clinical picture. However, a marked difference in the rate of progression of the obligatory symptoms after 10 years of apparent disease is observed. A total of 553 individuals from 80 families with 202 affected members have been typed with the chromosome 9 marker MCT112, which we have previously shown to be closely linked to the disease locus. Evidence for linkage was observed in all families with the generation of a combined total lod score of 25.09 at a recombination fraction of theta = .00, providing strong evidence for genetic homogeneity at this locus for the classical form of this disease.

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