DNA Variations in Oculocutaneous Albinism: An Updated Mutation List and Current Outstanding Issues in Molecular Diagnostics


  • Contract grant sponsor: NIH.

  • Communicated by William S. Oetting

Correspondence to: David R. Adams, National Institutes of Health, 10/10C103B, 10 Center Drive, Bethesda, MD 20892. E-mail: dadams1@mail.nih.gov


Oculocutaneous albinism (OCA) is a rare genetic disorder of melanin synthesis that results in hypopigmented hair, skin, and eyes. There are four types of OCA caused by mutations in TYR (OCA-1), OCA2 (OCA-2), TYRP1 (OCA-3), or SLC45A2 (OCA-4). Here we report 22 novel mutations in the OCA genes; 14 from a cohort of 61 patients seen as part of the NIH OCA Natural History Study and eight from a prior study at the University of Minnesota. We also include a comprehensive list of almost 600 previously reported OCA mutations along with ethnicity information, carrier frequencies, and in silico pathogenicity predictions as a supplement. In addition to discussing the clinical and molecular features of OCA, we address the cases of apparent missing heritability. In our cohort, 26% of patients did not have two mutations in a single OCA gene. We demonstrate the utility of multiple detection methods to reveal mutations missed by Sanger sequencing. Finally, we review the TYR p.R402Q temperature-sensitive variant and confirm its association with cases of albinism with only one identifiable TYR mutation.