Examination of the X chromosome by STS-PCR screening for the presence of submicroscopic deletions.
Brenan M., Flint J.
Cytogenetically undetectable deletions are suspected to be an important cause of mental retardation and developmental delay, as suggested by the observation that about 7% of children with undiagnosed mental retardation have rearrangements affecting the chromosome ends. Screening the whole genome for regions of aneuploidy smaller than 5 Mb is not feasible, but the availability of a high resolution map of the X chromosome means that it is possible to look for deletions in males by PCR. We have screened 96 affected males and their 96 unaffected fathers with 110 markers distributed across the X chromosome. No deletions were found in either group. Our results show that the prevalence of deletions greater than 1 Mb in children with mental retardation is less than 3.9% (95% confidence interval). We conclude that X chromosome deletions in the size range 1-5 Mb are a rare cause of mental retardation in males.