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Keywords:

  • Ashkenazi;
  • c.355C>T;
  • c.550del;
  • carrier frequency;
  • PEX2;
  • Zellweger syndrome

Zellweger syndrome is known to be caused by numerous mutations that occur in at least 12 of the PEX genes. While phenotypes vary, many are severely debilitating, and death can result in affected newborns. Since the disease follows an autosomal recessive pattern of inheritance, carrier screening can be done for at-risk couples, but the number of potential mutations sites to screen can be daunting. Ethnicity-specific studies can help narrow this range by highlighting mutations that are present at higher percentages in certain populations. In this article, the carrier frequencies for two mutations causative of the severe Zellweger syndrome spectrum phenotype that occur in the PEX2 gene, c.355C>T and c.550del, were studied in individuals of Ashkenazi Jewish descent in order to advise on inclusion in existing carrier screening mutation panels for this population. The screening was performed for 2093 individuals through the use of TaqMan genotyping assays, real-time PCR, and allelic discrimination. Results indicated a carrier frequency of 0.813% (±0.385%) for the c.355C>T mutation and a carrier frequency of 0.00% (±0.00%) for the c.550del mutation. On the basis of these frequencies, we believe that the c.355C>T mutation should be considered for inclusion in carrier screening panels for the Ashkenazi population.