Partial absence of the sacrum is a rare congenital defect which also occurs as an autosomal dominant trait; association with anterior meningocoele, presacral teratoma and anorectal abnormalities constitutes the Currarino triad (MIM 176450). Malformation at the caudal end of the developing notochord at approximately Carnegie stage 7 (16 post-ovulatory days), which results in aberrant secondary neurulation, can explain the observed pattern of anomalies. We previously reported linkage to 7q36 markers in two dominantly inherited sacral agenesis families. We now present data refining the initial subchromosomal localization in several additional hereditary sacral agenesis (HSA) families. We excluded several candidate genes before identifying patient-specific mutations in a homeobox gene, HLXB9, which was previously reported to map to 1q41-q42.1 and to be expressed in lymphoid and pancreatic tissues.
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