Identification of female carriers for Duchenne and Becker muscular dystrophies using a FISH-based approach

Azra H. Ligon, Catherine D. Kashork, C. Sue Richards, Lisa G. Shaffer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) and Becker muscular dystrophy (BMD) are X-linked recessive neuromuscular diseases caused by dystrophin gene mutations. Deletions, or more rarely duplications, of single or multiple exons within the dystrophin gene can be detected by current molecular methods in approximately 65% of DMD patients. Mothers of affected males have a two-thirds chance of carrying a dystrophin mutation, whilst approximately one-third of affected males have de novo mutations. Currently, Southern blot analysis and multiplex PCR directed against exons in deletion hot spots are used to determine female carrier status. However, both of these assays depend on dosage assessment to accurately identify carriers since, in females, the normal X chromosome is also present. To obviate quantitation of gene dosage, we have developed exon-specific probes from the dystrophin gene and applied them to a screen for potential carrier females using fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH). Cosmid clones, representing 16 exons, were identified and used in FISH analysis of DMD/BMD families. Our preliminary work has identified multiple, informative probes for several families with dystrophin deletions and has shown that a FISH-based assay can be an effective and direct method for establishing the DMD/BMD carrier status of females.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)293-298
Number of pages6
JournalEuropean Journal of Human Genetics
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2000
Externally publishedYes


  • Becker muscular dystrophy
  • Carrier detection
  • Diagnostic testing
  • Duchenne muscular dystrophy
  • FISH
  • Laboratory validation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics
  • Genetics(clinical)


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