Fragile X and X-linked intellectual disability: four decades of discovery

Am J Hum Genet. 2012 Apr 6;90(4):579-90. doi: 10.1016/j.ajhg.2012.02.018.


X-Linked intellectual disability (XLID) accounts for 5%-10% of intellectual disability in males. Over 150 syndromes, the most common of which is the fragile X syndrome, have been described. A large number of families with nonsyndromal XLID, 95 of which have been regionally mapped, have been described as well. Mutations in 102 X-linked genes have been associated with 81 of these XLID syndromes and with 35 of the regionally mapped families with nonsyndromal XLID. Identification of these genes has enabled considerable reclassification and better understanding of the biological basis of XLID. At the same time, it has improved the clinical diagnosis of XLID and allowed for carrier detection and prevention strategies through gamete donation, prenatal diagnosis, and genetic counseling. Progress in delineating XLID has far outpaced the efforts to understand the genetic basis for autosomal intellectual disability. In large measure, this has been because of the relative ease of identifying families with XLID and finding the responsible mutations, as well as the determined and interactive efforts of a small group of researchers worldwide.

Publication types

  • Historical Article
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Chromosome Mapping / history
  • Chromosome Mapping / methods
  • Female
  • Fragile X Syndrome / genetics*
  • Fragile X Syndrome / history
  • Fragile X Syndrome / psychology
  • Genes, X-Linked / genetics
  • History, 20th Century
  • History, 21st Century
  • Humans
  • Intellectual Disability / genetics
  • Intellectual Disability / history
  • Male
  • Mutation