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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Multiplex nested PCR for preimplantation genetic diagnosis of spinal muscular atrophy.

OBJECTIVE: Spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) is a common autosomal recessive neuromuscular disorder caused in most patients by homozygous deletion of the SMN1 gene. For a carrier couple at a 25% risk of affected offspring, preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) offers an alternative to prenatal diagnosis and termination of affected pregnancies. Our objective was to develop an accurate and reliable single-cell multiplex nested PCR analysis for PGD of SMA. METHODS: The method was developed on single blood leukocytes, obtained from healthy controls and an adult SMA type III patient with a known homozygous deletion of SMN1 exon 7 and 8. Multiplex nested PCR on single cells was used to co-amplify exons 7 and 8 of SMN. Additional multiplexing was performed with the ZFX/ZFY gene for sexing. Following successful establishment of the multiplex nested PCR protocol in single leukocytes, the technique was employed for PGD in 4 patients for a total of 7 cycles. In 2 patients, sexing was simultaneously performed using ZFX/ZFY. RESULTS: 220 single leukocytes from a normal individual and 220 from an SMA patient were analyzed. Exon 7 of SMN1 was amplified in 99% of normal single leukocytes and in none of the SMA-affected leukocytes. Exon 7 of SMN2 was amplified in 100% of both normal and SMA-affected leukocytes. Exon 8 of SMN1 was amplified in 98% of normal cells and in none of the SMA-affected leukocytes. Exon 8 of SMN2 was amplified in 96% of both normal and SMA-affected leukocytes. Amplification efficiency was 99% for ZFX/ZFY. There were no false-negative results and no contamination was detected in all wash-drop blanks tested. Seven PGD cycles were performed in 4 SMA-carrier couples with successful molecular analysis of 34 embryos and a total of 15 normal embryos transferred in 7 cycles. One clinical pregnancy has resulted in the delivery of a healthy male. Amniocentesis performed at 17 weeks confirmed the correct diagnosis for both SMA and sexing. CONCLUSIONS: These results suggest that our multiplex nested PCR protocol offers an efficient and accurate method for PGD of SMA while enabling the simultaneous analysis of an additional loci.[1]


  1. Multiplex nested PCR for preimplantation genetic diagnosis of spinal muscular atrophy. Malcov, M., Schwartz, T., Mei-Raz, N., Yosef, D.B., Amit, A., Lessing, J.B., Shomrat, R., Orr-Urtreger, A., Yaron, Y. Fetal. Diagn. Ther. (2004) [Pubmed]
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