The molecular analysis of 127 DMD/BMD patients showed that 73 of them (57%) had deletions in the dystrophin gene. Two different methods were used in this study: (a) hybridization of HindIII-digested genomic DNA with nine cDNA probes corresponding to the entire 14 kb cDNA of the DMD gene; and (b) simultaneous amplification of nine exons of the DMD gene (multiplex DNA amplification) by the polymerase chain reaction (PCR). When the deletion breakpoints of the intragenic deletions were analyzed with regard to their phenotypic consequences, nine patients were found to represent exceptions to the reading-frame hypothesis. Information regarding mental development was also available for 61 of the 73 deleted patients and for 34 of the 54 non-deleted ones. The proportion of mentally retarded patients was found to be similar in the two groups (deleted, 15%; non-deleted, 18%). Finally, in one family, a junction fragment present in the patient was not found in the peripheral blood DNA of the mother but was present in the sister, thus indicating germline mosaicism in the mother.
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