Mosaicism in fragile X affected males

Am J Med Genet. 1994 Jul 15;51(4):509-12. doi: 10.1002/ajmg.1320510444.


Fragile X affected males have an expansion of a CGG repeat and a hypermethylated CpG island 5' to the FMR-1 gene. Mosaic males with both a premutation and full mutation have been noted among the affected individuals. Such mosaic males are most easily identified by the presence of a methylated restriction fragment characteristic of the full mutation and an additional unmethylated fragment in the premutation range in Southern analyses with EcoR I and the methylation-sensitive enzyme Eag I and a probe such as StB12.3. We analyzed a group of affected fragile X males by Southern blotting and found 41% (61/148) to be mosaic. The 148 individuals were divided between 36 pairs of brothers and 76 unrelated males. Little difference in the number of mosaics was seen between the brothers and the unrelated males nor was the expected distribution of mosaicism in brother pairs different from observed. Thus, these data do not suggest a familial basis for mosaicism. Our observation that 41% affected fragile X males were mosaic is significantly higher than previous reports. The difference is likely due to technical modifications which permitted the identification of faint premutation bands in some patients. The high percentage of affected males with mosaicism seen here suggests that the occurrence of such individuals may be a much more frequent event than presently recognized.

MeSH terms

  • Blotting, Southern
  • DNA / metabolism
  • DNA Probes
  • Deoxyribonuclease EcoRI
  • Deoxyribonucleases, Type II Site-Specific
  • Dinucleoside Phosphates / metabolism
  • Family Health
  • Fragile X Syndrome / genetics*
  • Gene Dosage
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Methylation
  • Mosaicism*
  • Mutation
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Repetitive Sequences, Nucleic Acid


  • DNA Probes
  • Dinucleoside Phosphates
  • cytidylyl-3'-5'-guanosine
  • DNA
  • Deoxyribonuclease EcoRI
  • endodeoxyribonuclease XmaIII
  • Deoxyribonucleases, Type II Site-Specific