A cohort of 31 cystic fibrosis patients showing pancreatic sufficiency and bearing an unidentified mutation on at least one chromosome was analyzed through denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis of the whole coding region of the cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator gene, including intron-exon boundaries. Three new and 19 previously described mutations were detected. The combination of these with known mutations detected by other methods, allowed the characterization of mutations on 56/62 (90.3%) chromosomes. Among those identified, 17 can be considered responsible for pancreatic sufficiency, since they were found in patients carrying a severe mutation on the other chromosome. Among these presumed mild mutations, eight were detected more than once, R352Q being the most frequent in this sample (4.83%). Intragenic microsatellite analysis revealed that the six chromosomes still bearing unidentified mutations are associated with five different haplotypes. This may indicate that these chromosomes bear different mutations, rarely occurring among cystic fibrosis patients, further underlying the molecular heterogeneity of the genetic defects present in patients having pancreatic sufficiency.
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