Preferential deletion of exons in Duchenne and Becker muscular dystrophies

Nature. 1987 Oct;329(6140):638-40. doi: 10.1038/329638a0.


Duchenne and Becker muscular dystrophy (DMD and BMD) genes are located in Xp21 on the short arm of the X chromosome. DMD patients display a much more severe clinical course than BMD patients, and yet about 10% of cases of each have been reported to have deletions for parts of the gene. Using a complementary DNA subclone of the DMD gene we have screened 66 DMD and BMD patients who had not previously shown deletions with the probes then available. Fifteen patients have a deletion of this part of the gene, indicating a higher deletion frequency in this region (22%). Exons were deleted in five severely affected DMD patients and in ten BMD patients. Significantly, most of these deletions begin in the same region of the cDNA, which implies that there is a common mechanism for the generation of many of these mutations. An apparently identical deletion in one family gave classical BMD in two brothers (presenting in their teens) and only very mild muscle weakness in their 86-year-old great-great-uncle. Taking these data together with data using the probes previously published, we are able to detect deletions directly in 40% of our families requiring antenatal diagnosis or carrier detection.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Aged
  • Chromosome Deletion
  • DNA / analysis
  • DNA Restriction Enzymes / metabolism
  • Deoxyribonucleases, Type II Site-Specific*
  • Exons*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Muscular Dystrophies / genetics*
  • X Chromosome


  • DNA
  • DNA Restriction Enzymes
  • CTGCAG-specific type II deoxyribonucleases
  • Deoxyribonucleases, Type II Site-Specific
  • TCGA-specific type II deoxyribonucleases