Segregation analysis using a model with age and gender effects was applied to 101 pedigrees ascertained through a proband with idiopathic scoliosis. The transmission probability model was used to detect major gene effect. When we analyzed the pedigrees where affected status was assigned to persons with a Cobb's angle of more than 5 degrees we did not detect a significant major gene effect. However, when the affected status was assigned to persons with pronounced forms of disease only (a curve of at least 11 degrees) a significant contribution of a major causal gene could be established and inheritance could be described according to a dominant major gene diallele model, assuming incomplete sex and age dependent penetrance of genotypes. According to this model, the pronounced forms of idiopathic scoliosis should never occur in the absence of the mutant allele. This indicates that only the carriers of the mutant allele develop pronounced forms of the disease. At the same time, only a fraction of the carriers of the mutant gene should manifest the disease (30% of males and 50% of females).
Copyright 1999 Wiley-Liss, Inc.