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The folate-sensitive fragile site FRAXE is located in proximal Xq28 of the human X chromosome and lies approximately 600 kb distal to the fragile X syndrome (FRAXA) fragile site at Xq27.3. The cytogenetic expression of FRAXE is thought to be associated with mental handicap, but this is usually mild compared to that of the more common fragile X syndrome that is associated with the expression of the FRAXA fragile site. The exact incidence of FRAXE mental retardation is uncertain. We describe here the results of a U.K. survey designed to assess the frequency of FRAXE in a population of individuals referred for fragile X syndrome testing and found to be negative for expansion events at the FRAXA locus. No FRAXE expansion events were found in 362 cytogenetically negative males studied, and one expansion event was identified in a sample of 534 males for whom cytogenetic analyses were either unrecorded or not performed. Further FRAXE expansion events were detected in two related females known to be cytogenetically positive for a fragile site in Xq27.3-28. To gain insight into the FRAXE phenotype, the clinical details of the identified FRAXE male plus three other FRAXE individuals identified through previous referrals for fragile X syndrome testing are presented. For the population studied, we conclude that FRAXE mental retardation is a relatively rare but significant form of mental retardation for which genetic diagnosis would be appropriate.


Journal article


Am J Hum Genet

Publication Date





906 - 913


Base Sequence, Chromosome Fragile Sites, Chromosome Fragility, England, Female, Fragile X Syndrome, Humans, Intellectual Disability, Male, Molecular Sequence Data, X Chromosome