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Nat Genet. 1996 Jul;13(3):290-5.

Spontaneous in vivo reversion to normal of an inherited mutation in a patient with adenosine deaminase deficiency.

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New York University Medical School, Department of Medicine, New York 10016, USA.


Somatic mosaicism in genetic disease generally results from a de novo deleterious mutation during embryogenesis. We now describe a somatic mosaicism due to the unusual mechanism of in vivo reversion to normal of an inherited mutation. The propositus was an adenosine deaminase-deficient (ADA-) child with progressive clinical improvement and unexpectedly mild biochemical and immunologic abnormalities. Mosaicism due to reversion was evidenced by absence of a maternally transmitted deleterious mutation in 13/15 authenticated B cell lines and in 17% of single alleles cloned from blood DNA, despite retention of a maternal 'private' ADA polymorphism linked to the mutation. Establishment of significant somatic mosaicism following reversion to normal could modify any disorder in which revertant cells have a selective advantage.

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