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Ann Genet. 2000 Jan-Mar;43(1):29-34.

Molecular diagnosis of the fragile X and FRAXE syndromes in patients with mental retardation of unknown cause in Mexico.

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Molecular Biology Laboratory, Department of Research in Human Genetics, National Institute of Pediatrics, Mexico City, Mexico.


The fragile X syndrome (Fra-X) is the most common cause of inherited mental retardation with X-linked semi-dominant inheritance. The prevalence of Fra-X in the Mexican population is unknown. The aim of this population screening study was to determine if Fra-X or FRAXE mutations are the cause of a number of cases of mental retardation in a sample of Mexican children with mental retardation of unknown cause (MRUC) and to stress the importance of performing molecular analysis of the FMR-1 gene in all patients with MRUC. We report here the direct analysis of CGG and GCC repeats within the FMR-1 and FMR-2 genes, respectively, in 62 unrelated patients with MRUC. Two male index cases had the CGG expansion, although they did not express the Xq27.3 fragile site cytogenetically. Fra-X diagnosis was highly suspected on a clinical basis in one of the patients, but not in the other. Both mothers were found to be premutation carriers. The molecular studies of FMR-1 showed that the proportion of MRUC patients with Fra-X is 3.2%. This frequency was not significantly different to that reported in most populations. As reported in other series, no patients with FRAXE were found in our sample. Our findings confirm that the molecular analysis of the FMR-1 gene is necessary in MRUC patients to achieve unequivocal diagnosis of fragile X syndrome, carrier premutation detection and for accurate genetic counseling.

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