Contribution of the FMR1 gene mutation to human intellectual dysfunction

Nat Genet. 1995 Nov;11(3):331-4. doi: 10.1038/ng1195-331.


The degree to which genetic factors influence human intelligence remains a matter of some controversy. However, there is little doubt that single gene mutations can significantly alter brain development and function. For example, mutations affecting the FMR1 gene cause the fragile X syndrome, the most prevalent known inherited cause of intellectual dysfunction. The most common mutation occurring in the FMR1 locus involves expansion of a trinucleotide (CGG)n repeat sequence within the promoter region of the gene. Between 6 and 54 repeats are typically observed in individuals from the general population. When > or = 200 CGG repeats are present, the expanded repeat sequence and an adjacent CpG island are usually hypermethylated, Aa phenomenon associated with transcriptional silencing of the gene and commonly referred to as the FMR1 full mutation. The intermediate range of repeats (approximately 50 to 200 CGGs), referred to as the premutation, is characterized by the absence of hypermethylation within the promoter region and normal phenotype. Some individuals have a combination of methylated and unmethylated alleles of differing size and are referred to as having mosaic status. Most males with the FMR1 full mutation function in the mentally retarded range of intelligence; in contrast, females with the FMR1 full mutation show a broader range of intelligence, from mental retardation to normal IQ.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Child
  • Dosage Compensation, Genetic
  • Female
  • Fragile X Mental Retardation Protein
  • Fragile X Syndrome / genetics*
  • Humans
  • Intellectual Disability / genetics*
  • Intelligence / genetics
  • Intelligence Tests
  • Mutation*
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / genetics*
  • Parents
  • RNA-Binding Proteins*
  • Regression Analysis
  • Repetitive Sequences, Nucleic Acid


  • FMR1 protein, human
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins
  • RNA-Binding Proteins
  • Fragile X Mental Retardation Protein