High carrier frequency of the 35delG deafness mutation in European populations

Paolo Gasparini, Raquel Rabionet, Guido Barbujani, Salvatore Melchionda, Michael Petersen, Karen Brøndum-Nielsen, Andres Metspalu, Eneli Oitmaa, Marina Pisano, Paolo Fortina, Leopoldo Zelante, Xavier Estivill

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Congenital deafness accounts for about 1 in 1000 infants and approximately 80% of cases are inherited as an autosomal recessive trait. Recently, it has been demonstrated that connexin 26 (GJB2) gene is a major gene for congenital sensorineural deafness. A single mutation (named 35delG) was found in most recessive families and sporadic cases of congenital deafness, among Caucasoids, with relative frequencies ranging from 28% to 63%. We present here the analysis of the 35delG mutation in 3270 random controls from 17 European countries. We have detected a carrier frequency for 35delG of 1 in 35 in southern Europe and 1 in 79 in central and northern Europe. In addition, 35delG was detected in five out of 376 Jewish subjects of different origin, but was absent in other non-European populations. The study suggests either a single origin for 35delG somewhere in Europe or in the Middle East, and the possible presence of a carrier advantage together with a founder effect. The 35delG carrier frequency of 1 in 51 in the overall European population clearly indicates that this genetic alteration is a major mutation for autosomal recessive deafness in Caucasoids. This finding should facilitate diagnosis of congenital deafness and allow early treatment of the affected subjects.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)19-23
Number of pages5
JournalEuropean Journal of Human Genetics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2000



  • 35delG
  • Carrier frequency
  • Genetic deafness
  • GJB2

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics(clinical)

Cite this

Gasparini, P., Rabionet, R., Barbujani, G., Melchionda, S., Petersen, M., Brøndum-Nielsen, K., Metspalu, A., Oitmaa, E., Pisano, M., Fortina, P., Zelante, L., & Estivill, X. (2000). High carrier frequency of the 35delG deafness mutation in European populations. European Journal of Human Genetics, 8(1), 19-23. https://doi.org/10.1038/sj.ejhg.5200406