Serendipity or prepared mind? Recollections of the KOP translocation (1967) and of one form of Perrault syndrome

Am J Med Genet C Semin Med Genet. 2014 Dec;166C(4):387-96. doi: 10.1002/ajmg.c.31420. Epub 2014 Nov 25.


The human X/autosome translocation, designated KOP, was discovered by Dr. Philip D. Pallister in Montana in 1967 in a young man with apparent Klinefelter syndrome. Collaboratively it was possible to elucidate the genetic nature of his unprecedented chromosome rearrangement and its developmental effects in mother and son. In retrospect, these clinical and genetic studies at the height of the somatic cell genetics era (Ruddle, Siniscalco, etc.) presented human genetics with a highly productive opportunity to begin gene mapping of autosomes and the X chromosome. The late Victor McKusick considered the discovery of the KOP translocation, as he determined personally in Montana, one of the major transforming events in human genetics. The Perrault syndrome evaluated in two families in Montana and one in Sicily for familial deafness, primary amenorrhea and neurologic impairment (progressive in some), turned out to be heterogeneous. In the "hands" of Dr. M.-C. King of Seattle four forms of Perrault syndrome have been identified. The autosomal recessive mutation present in the P family studied with Dr. Pallister in Helena, turned out to affect the mitochondrial histidyl tRNA synthetase gene present in prokaryotes, annelids, fungi and mammals, hence, must already have been present in LUCA some 3.8 billion years ago.

Keywords: HSA14; HSX, X-autosome translocation; KOP translocation; Klinefelter syndrome; LUCA; NP; PGK, HGPRT, G6PD; Perrault syndrome; Syrian hamster (mouse)-human somatic cell hybrids; autosomal recessive; somatic cell genetics.

Publication types

  • Historical Article
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Gonadal Dysgenesis, 46,XX / diagnosis*
  • Gonadal Dysgenesis, 46,XX / genetics*
  • Gonadal Dysgenesis, 46,XX / history
  • Hearing Loss, Sensorineural / diagnosis*
  • Hearing Loss, Sensorineural / genetics*
  • Hearing Loss, Sensorineural / history
  • History, 20th Century
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Phenotype
  • Translocation, Genetic*

Supplementary concepts

  • Gonadal dysgenesis XX type deafness