Inherited retinal dystrophies represent the most important cause of vision impairment in adolescence, affecting approximately 1 out of 3000 individuals. Mutations of the photoreceptor-specific gene ABCA4 (ABCR) are a common cause of retinal dystrophy. A number of mutations have been repeatedly reported for this gene, notably the 2588G>C mutation which is frequent in both patients and controls. Here we ascertained the frequency of the 2588G>C mutation in a total of 2343 unrelated random control individuals from 11 European countries and 241 control individuals from the US, as well as in 614 patients with STGD both from Europe and the US. We found an overall carrier frequency of 1 out of 54 in Europe, compared with 1 out of 121 in the US, confirming that the 2588G>C ABCA4 mutation is one of the most frequent autosomal recessive mutations in the European population. Carrier frequencies show an increasing gradient in Europe from South-West to North-East. The lowest carrier frequency, 0 out of 199 (0%), was found in Portugal; the highest, 11 out of 197 (5.5%), was found in Sweden. Haplotype analysis in 16 families segregating the 2588G>C mutation showed four intragenic polymorphisms invariably present in all 16 disease chromosomes and sharing of the same allele for several markers flanking the ABCA4 locus in most of the disease chromosomes. These results indicate a single origin of the 2588G>C mutation which, to our best estimate, occurred between 2400 and 3000 years ago.
Familial incontinentia pigmenti (IP) is a rare X-linked dominant disorder that affects ectodermal tissues. Over 90% of IP carrier females have a recurrent genomic deletion of exons 4-10 of the NEMO (IKBKG-IKKgamma) gene, which encodes a regulatory component of the IkB kinase complex, required to activate the NF-kB pathway. In IP, mutations in NEMOlead to the complete loss of NF-kB activation creating a susceptibility to cellular apoptosis in response to TNF-alpha. This condition is lethal for males during embryogenesis while females, who are mosaic as a result of X-inactivation, can survive. Recently, a second nonfunctional copy of the gene, DeltaNEMO, was identified, opposite in direction to NEMO in a 35.5-kb duplicated sequence tract. PCR-based detection of the NEMO deletion is diagnostic for IP disease. However, we present instances in which ex 4-10 DeltaNEMO pseudogene deletion occurs in unaffected parents of two females with clinically characteristic IP. These were missed by the currently standard PCR-based method, but can be easily discriminated by a new PCR-based test reported here that permits unambiguous molecular diagnosis and proper familial genetic counseling for IP.