Fragile X screening program in New York State

Am J Med Genet. 1991 Feb-Mar;38(2-3):251-5. doi: 10.1002/ajmg.1320380218.


Most fragile X [fra(X)] males in New York State have not been identified. Hence, a large number of female relatives are unaware of their risks for having an affected child. A program was established in New York State in 1987 to screen for the fra(X) syndrome in mentally retarded males with living relatives. The goal of the program is to identify affected males and inform their families about the diagnosis. In this way relatives would be able to assess their risks for having a fra(X) male. In order to identify the males a screening form was developed to assess 10 features which included physical characteristics, behavior, and family history. Males who exhibited at least 5 of these manifestations were selected for cytogenetic analysis. Any male who had macroorchidism or a family history of mental retardation was also included. A total of 995 males have been screened of which 352 (35%) were selected for cytogenetic analyses. Seventeen (10.5%) of the 161 completed studies were positive for fra(X). A large number of possible female carriers were identified in the families of the propositi. This program identifies fra(X) males in a population of the mentally retarded for whom there had been no previous diagnosis. By using a two-step procedure, it is possible to screen a large population of the mentally retarded for fra(X) without testing each male cytogenetically.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Abnormalities, Multiple / diagnosis
  • Abnormalities, Multiple / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Fragile X Syndrome / diagnosis
  • Fragile X Syndrome / epidemiology
  • Fragile X Syndrome / genetics
  • Fragile X Syndrome / prevention & control*
  • Genetic Carrier Screening*
  • Genetic Counseling
  • Genetic Testing*
  • Humans
  • Intellectual Disability / diagnosis
  • Intellectual Disability / epidemiology
  • Intellectual Disability / genetics*
  • Male
  • New York / epidemiology
  • Physical Examination
  • Testis / abnormalities