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Am J Hum Genet. 1993 Feb;52(2):388-97.

A single major-gene defect underlying cardiac conotruncal malformations interferes with myocardial growth during embryonic development: studies in the CTD line of keeshond dogs.

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Section of Medical Genetics, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia 19104-6010.


The common forms of isolated congenital heart disease are usually not inherited in a Mendelian pattern, and most are considered multifactorial threshold traits. A large subset consisting of a group of malformations of the ventricular outflow region, termed "conotruncal defects" (CTDs), include subarterial ventricular septal defects, tetralogy of Fallot, and persistent truncus arteriosus. Similar aggregations of CTDs have been reported in human families and in the keeshond breed of dog. The results of our early breeding experiments utilizing noninbred keeshonds were not consistent with any hypothesis of a fully penetrant monogenic inheritance. Here we report a recent series of genetic and embryologic studies conducted after more than 10 generations of selective inbred matings between affected-CTD-line dogs. The results are now consistent with a defect at a single autosomal locus, the Mendelian pattern of transmission having been obscured prior to selective inbreeding by genetic background. On the basis of morphometric embryologic studies, the mutant CTD allele causes conotruncal malformations in homozygous animals by interfering with myocardial growth in the conotruncus during the critical window when the conotruncal cushions fuse to form the conotruncal septum.

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