Multiplex ligation dependent probe amplification (MLPA) assays were designed for the genes HEXB (OMIM: 606873), GM2A (OMIM: 613109) and SMARCAL1 (OMIM: 606622) of humans. Two sets of synthetic MLPA probes for these coding exons were tested. Changes in copy numbers were detected as well as single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) by complementary DNA sequence analyses. The MLPA method was shown to be reliable for mutation detection and identified five published and 12 new mutations. In all cases from a Morbus Sandhoff cohort of patients, exclusively one variation in copy number was observed and linked to a nucleotide alteration called c.1614-14C>A. This deletion comprised exons 1-5. One of these cases is described in detail. Deletions were neither detected in the GM2A nor the SMARCAL1 genes. The MLPA assays complement routine diagnostics for M. Sandhoff (OMIM: 268800), M. Tay-Sachs variant AB (OMIM: 272750) and Schimke immuno-osseous dysplasia (OMIM: 242900).
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