• chordoma;
  • linkage;
  • single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP);
  • genetic heterogeneity


Chordoma, a rare bone tumor originating from notochordal remnants, has a genetic predisposition in some families. Previously, we performed linkage analysis using microsatellite (STR) markers on 3 unrelated chordoma kindreds (16 patients with chordoma) and reported significant evidence for linkage to chromosome 7q33 (Zmax = 4.78) with a minimal disease gene region of 11 cM. In our present study, we performed linkage analysis in these 3 families using chromosome 7 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs). Parametric and nonparametric multipoint analyses showed significant linkage to 7q markers with p < 0.001 and Zmax = 2.77, respectively. The minimal disease gene region was not reduced by combined SNP and STR haplotype analysis compared to the previous STR haplotype analysis alone. We genotyped members of a fourth chordoma family with SNP and STR markers for chromosome 7q and for 1p36, the location of a previously reported chordoma locus. Affected members of this family did not share a common haplotype on 7q, and the family did not show evidence of linkage to 1p36. Thus, we corroborated a chordoma locus on chromosome 7q in the 3 original families and demonstrated evidence for genetic heterogeneity in the fourth family. Our study also provided insights into some limitations and analytical complexities associated with using a dense SNP marker set in linkage analysis of complex pedigrees. © 2005 Wiley-Liss, Inc.