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Is there selection in favour of heterozygotes in families with merosin-deficient congenital muscular dystrophy?

Abstract

Merosin-deficient congenital muscular dystrophy is an autosomal recessive neuromuscular disorder caused by partial or total absence of laminin-2 (merosin) in the skeletal muscle. Affected children have severe weakness, hypotonia at birth, high creatine kinase (CK) levels (more than 10 times normal) and are not able to walk or stand unsupported. Linkage and mutation analysis demonstrated that the gene encoding for the laminin-α2 chain, mapped on chromosome 6q22–23, is invariably responsible for this form of congenital muscular dystrophy. We investigated the pattern of inheritance of the haplotypes associated with the mutated allele in 29 informative merosin-deficient families, using tightly linked informative polymorphic microsatellite markers. This allowed us to identify heterozygous individuals from normal homozygotes, who are clinically, pathologically and biochemically indistinguishable. By linkage analysis, we found a statistically significant increase in the number of heterozygous individuals carrying either the paternal or the maternal haplotypes associated with the mutated allele. This could suggest a selection in favour of the alleles carrying mutations at the laminin α2-chain locus.

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D’Alessandro, M., Naom, I., Ferlini, A. et al. Is there selection in favour of heterozygotes in families with merosin-deficient congenital muscular dystrophy?. Hum Genet 105, 308–313 (1999). https://doi.org/10.1007/s004399900093

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Keywords

  • Heterozygous Individual
  • Naom
  • Serum Creatine Kinase Level
  • Congenital Muscular Dystrophy
  • Congenital Muscular Dystrophy