Rett syndrome (RTT) is a neurodevelopmental disorder affecting primarily females, with an incidence of around 1 in 15,000 females. In 1999, mutations in the X-linked gene methyl-CpG-binding protein 2 (MECP2) were first reported in RTT subjects, and since that time there have been a number of publications describing cohorts of patients and their mutations. In addition, MECP2 mutations have been reported in patients who do not fit the diagnostic criteria for Rett syndrome. We have developed a new locus-specific database, RettBASE (http://mecp2.chw.edu.au/), loosely based on the PAHdb website. The aim is to obtain data relating to all known instances of MECP2 variations, including published ta and data directly submitted by one of various means (either by using an online submission form, or by sending the same form in Adobe portable document format (pdf) or Microsoft Word format by email or fax to the database curators). The database has a range of query capabilities, allowing for simple or complex interrogation of the database. To address the issue of patient confidentiality, we have incorporated an Excel spreadsheet algorithm that allows the generation of a unique number based on the subject's name and date of birth. We believe this database will prove to be a useful resource, allowing the development of accurate prevalence data for disease-causing mutations, providing a catalog of polymorphisms, and potentially allowing more accurate phenotype-genotype correlations to be drawn.
Copyright 2003 Wiley-Liss, Inc.