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Am J Hum Genet. 1994 Sep;55(3):468-75.

The DYT1 gene on 9q34 is responsible for most cases of early limb-onset idiopathic torsion dystonia in non-Jews.

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Department of Neurology, Oregon Health Sciences University, Portland 97201.


Idiopathic torsion dystonia (ITD) is characterized by involuntary twisting movements and postures. A gene for this disorder, DYT1, was mapped to chromosome 9q34 in 12 Ashkenazi Jewish (AJ) families and one large non-Jewish kindred. In the AJ population, strong linkage disequilibrium exists between DYT1 and adjacent markers within a 2-cM region. The associated haplotype occurs in > 90% of early limb-onset AJ cases. We examined seven non-Jewish ITD families of northern European and French Canadian descent to determine the extent to which early-onset ITD in non-Jews maps to DYT1. Results are consistent with linkage to the DYT1 region. Affected individuals in these families are clinically similar to the AJ cases; i.e., the site of onset is predominantly in the limbs and at least one individual in each pedigree had onset before age 12 years. None carries the AJ haplotype; therefore, they probably represent different mutations in the DYT1 gene. The two French Canadian families, however, display the same haplotype. Estimates of penetrance in non-Jewish families range from .40 to .75. We identified disease gene carriers and, with adjustments for age at onset, obtained a direct estimate of penetrance of .46. This is consistent with estimates of 30%-40% in the AJ population. Two other non-Jewish families with atypical ITD (later onset and/or cranial or cervical involvement) are not linked to DYT1, which indicates involvement of other genes in dystonia.

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