A new polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assay for the trinucleotide repeat that is unstable and expanded on Huntington's disease chromosomes

Mol Cell Probes. 1993 Jun;7(3):235-9. doi: 10.1006/mcpr.1993.1034.


The Huntington's Disease (HD) Collaborative Research Group has recently published the sequence of a new cDNA, IT15, containing a polymorphic trinucleotide (CAG)n repeat that is expanded and unstable on HD chromosomes. There is a correlation between the repeat size and the age of onset of symptoms. The suggested polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assay of the (CAG)n repeat requires unusual reaction components and primer concentrations and the use of 5% polyacrylamide sequencing gels to resolve the amplification products. We present a simple PCR assay that produces a smaller product using standard reaction conditions. This gives better resolution of the (CAG)n expansion observed on HD chromosomes by acrylamide gel electrophoresis and allows sufficient product to be obtained to perform assays using agarose gels. This will allow diagnostic labs to do rapid and accurate presymptomatic testing of HD in high risk families.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Base Sequence
  • Chromosomes*
  • DNA / genetics
  • Electrophoresis, Agar Gel
  • Electrophoresis, Polyacrylamide Gel
  • Humans
  • Huntington Disease / diagnosis
  • Huntington Disease / epidemiology
  • Huntington Disease / genetics*
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Nucleotides / analysis*
  • Nucleotides / genetics
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Polymorphism, Genetic
  • Repetitive Sequences, Nucleic Acid / genetics*
  • Risk Factors


  • Nucleotides
  • DNA