Improved molecular diagnosis of dystrophin gene mutations using the multiplex ligation-dependent probe amplification method

Genet Test. 2004 Winter;8(4):361-7. doi: 10.1089/gte.2004.8.361.


Mutation detection in the DMD gene defective in Duchenne (DMD) and Becker muscular dystrophies (BMD) is complicated by the presence of 79 exons. The majority of recognized mutations are, however, copy number changes of individual exons, which traditionally have been identified by three common multiplex polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assays and/or Southern blotting. Here we report the use of the newly developed quantitative assay multiplex ligation-dependent probe amplification (MLPA) to determine the copy number of each of the 79 DMD exons in 182 males and 14 carrier females referred to our diagnostic facility on the clinical suspicion of DMD or BMD. The MLPA method confirmed all previously recognized mutations and identified an additional 28, including four point mutations. Also, the assay reliably identified 7 carrier females, which are usually not easily recognized. In our hands the method is highly reproducible, easy to handle, and has increased our mutation pick-up rate by a total of 33%.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • DNA Mutational Analysis
  • DNA Probes / genetics*
  • Dystrophin / genetics*
  • Exons
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Muscular Dystrophy, Duchenne / diagnosis*
  • Muscular Dystrophy, Duchenne / genetics*
  • Nucleic Acid Amplification Techniques / methods*
  • Point Mutation / genetics
  • Sensitivity and Specificity


  • DNA Probes
  • Dystrophin