Mutations of the PMS2 DNA repair gene predispose to a characteristic range of malignancies, with either childhood onset (when both alleles are mutated) or a partially penetrant adult onset (if heterozygous). These mutations have been difficult to detect, due to interference from a family of pseudogenes located on chromosome 7. One of these, the PMS2CL pseudogene, lies within a 100-kb inverted duplication (inv dup), 700 kb centromeric to PMS2 itself on 7p22. Here, we show that the reference genomic sequences cannot be relied upon to distinguish PMS2 from PMS2CL, because of sequence transfer between the two loci. The 7p22 inv dup occurred prior to the divergence of modern ape species (15 million years ago [Mya]), but has undergone extensive sequence homogenization. This process appears to be ongoing, since there is considerable allelic diversity within the duplicated region, much of it derived from sequence exchange between PMS2 and PMS2CL. This sequence diversity can result in both false-positive and false-negative mutation analysis at this locus. Great caution is still needed in the design and interpretation of PMS2 mutation screens.
2007 Wiley-Liss, Inc.