Fanconi anaemia (FA) is an autosomal recessive disorder associated with progressive bone-marrow failure, a variety of congenital abnormalities, and predisposition to acute myeloid leukaemia1. Cells from FA patients show increased sensitivity to bifunctional DNA crosslinking agents such as diepoxybutane and mitomycin C, with charac-teristic chromosome breakage2. FA is genetically heterogeneous, at least five different complementation groups (FA-A to FA-E) having been described3,4. The gene for group C (FAC) was cloned by functional complementation and mapped to chromosome 9q22.3 (refs 3,5), but the genes for the other complementation groups have not yet been identified. The group A gene [FAA) has recently been mapped to chromosome 16q24.3 by linkage analysis6, and accounts for 60-65% of FA cases7,8. We narrowed the candidate region by linkage and allelic association analysis, and have isolated a gene that is mutated in FA-A patients. The gene encodes a protein of 1,455 amino acids that has no significant homology to any other known proteins, and may therefore represent a new class of genes associated with the prevention or repair of DNA damage.
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