Examination of factors associated with instability of the FMR1 CGG repeat.
We examined premutation-female transmissions and premutation-male transmissions of the FMR1 CGG repeat to carrier offspring, to identify factors associated with instability of the repeat. First we investigated associations between parental and offspring repeat size. Premutation-female repeat size was positively correlated with the risk of having full-mutation offspring, confirming previous reports. Similarly, premutation-male repeat size was positively correlated with the daughter's repeat size. However, increasing paternal repeat size was associated also with both increased risk of contraction and decreased magnitude of the repeat-size change passed to the daughter. We hypothesized that the difference between the female and male transmissions was due simply to selection against full-mutation sperm. To test this hypothesis, we simulated selection against full-mutation eggs, by only examining premutation-female transmissions to their premutation offspring. Among this subset of premutation-female transmissions, associations between maternal and offspring repeat size were similar to those observed in premutation-male transmissions. This suggests that the difference between female and male transmissions may be due to selection against full-mutation sperm. Increasing maternal age was associated with increasing risk of expansion to the full mutation, possibly because of selection for smaller alleles within the offspring's soma over time; a similar effect of increasing paternal age may be due to the same selection process. Last, we have evidence that the reported association between offspring sex and risk of expansion may be due to ascertainment bias. Thus, female and male offspring are equally likely to inherit the full mutation.
Ashley-Koch, AE; Robinson, H; Glicksman, AE; Nolin, SL; Schwartz, CE; Brown, WT; Turner, G; Sherman, SL
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