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Hum Genet. 1999 Sep;105(3):200-10.

Novel and recurrent mutations in the tyrosinase gene and the P gene in the German albino population.

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Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada.


Albinism is a heterogeneous group of genetic disorders resulting from deficiencies in pigmentation. Clinically, it is divided into ocular (OA) and oculocutaneous albinism (OCA). OCA involves lack of pigment in the skin, hair, and eyes and results from mutations in the tyrosinase gene or in the P gene. OA mainly affects pigmentation in the visual system and may be a mild form of OCA or may be caused by other genetic defects. Clinical diagnosis of albinism type is difficult, because of the observed range of phenotypic variation. Thus, genetic analysis may be helpful with respect to a more accurate diagnosis. Here, we report the mutational profile, determined by genetic analysis of the tyrosinase and P genes, of a large German albino population. We have revealed a total of 42 distinct mutations, 19 of which are novel. Of the 74 unrelated patients screened, 32 (43%) had mutations in the tyrosinase gene, 16 (22%) had P gene mutations, and 26 (35%) patients had no detectable genetic abnormalities. This defines a population of albino patients who are tyrosinase-gene- and P-gene-negative and who thus may represent a good study group for searching for additional genes associated with albinism.

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