A frameshift mutation in exon 28 of the OPA1 gene explains the high prevalence of dominant optic atrophy in the Danish population: evidence for a founder effect
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- Thiselton, D.L., Alexander, C., Morris, A. et al. Hum Genet (2001) 109: 498. doi:10.1007/s004390100600
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Dominant optic atrophy (DOA) is a hereditary optic neuropathy characterised by decreased visual acuity, colour vision deficits, centro-coecal scotoma and optic nerve pallor. The gene OPA1, encoding a dynamin-related GTPase, has recently been identified within the genetic linkage interval for the major locus for DOA on chromosome 3q28 and shown to harbour genetic aberrations segregating with disease in DOA families. The prevalence of the disorder in Denmark is reported to be the highest of any geographical location, suggestive of a founder effect. In order to establish the genetic basis of disease in a sample of 33 apparently unrelated Danish families, we screened DNA from affected members for OPA1 gene mutations by heteroduplex analysis and direct sequencing. A novel identical mutation in exon 28 (2826delT) was associated with DOA in 14 pedigrees and led to a frameshift and abnormal OPA1 protein –COOH terminus. Haplotype analysis of a region of ~1 Mb flanking the OPA1 gene using eight polymorphic markers revealed a common haplotype shared by all 14 patients; this haplotype was markedly over-represented compared with ethnically matched controls. Statistical analysis confirmed significant linkage disequilibrium with DOA over ~600 kb encompassing the disease mutation. We have therefore demonstrated that the relatively high frequency of DOA in Denmark is attributable to a founder mutation responsible for ~42% of the examined families and suggest that presymptomatic screening for the (2826delT) mutation may facilitate diagnosis and genetic counselling in a significant proportion of DOA patients of Danish ancestry.