A detailed study of the mutant phenylalanine hydroxylase (PAH) gene from the eastern part of the Czech Republic (Moravia) is reported. A total of 190 mutant alleles from 95 phenylketonuria (PKU) families were analyzed for 21 prevalent Caucasian mutations and restriction fragment length polymorphism /variable number of tandem repeats (RFLP/VNTR) haplotypes. Eighty per cent of all mutant alleles were found to carry 11 mutations. The most common molecular defect was the mutation R408W (55.3%), with a very high degree of homozygosity (34.6%). Each of four other mutations (R158Q, R243X, G272X, IVS12nt1) accounted for more than 3% of PKU alleles. Rarely present were mutations IVS10nt546 (2.6%), R252W (2.6%), L48S (2.1%), R261Q (1.6%), Y414C (1.0%) and I65T (0.5%). Mutations that have been predominantly described in southern Europe (IVS7nt1, A259V, Y277D, R241H, T278N) were not detected. A total of 14 different mutant haplotypes were observed. Three unusual genotype-haplotype associations were identified (R158Q on haplotypes 2.3 and 7.8 and R252W on haplotype 69.3). There was a strong association between the mutation R408W and haplotype 2.3 (54.7%). Heterogeneity was found at mutations R408W (haplotypes 2.3 and 5.9), R158Q (haplotypes 4.3, 2.3 and 7.8) and IVS10nt546 (haplotypes 6.7 and 34.7). The molecular basis of PKU in the Moravian area appears to be relatively homogeneous in comparison with other southern and western European populations, thus providing a good starting point for prenatal diagnosis and early clinical classification.
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