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Paper Chase

A DNA segment encoding two genes very tightly linked to Huntington's disease.

Science. Nov 13, 1987;238(4829):950-2.
Gilliam TC, Bucan M, MacDonald ME, Zimmer M, Haines JL, Cheng SV, Pohl TM, Meyers RH, Whaley WL, Allitto BA.

Neurogenetics Laboratory, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston.


The discovery of D4S10, an anonymous DNA marker genetically linked to Huntington's disease (HD), introduced the capacity for limited presymptomatic diagnosis in this late-onset neurodegenerative disorder and raised the hope of cloning and characterizing the defect based on its chromosomal location. Progress on both fronts has been limited by the absence of additional DNA markers closer to the HD gene. An anonymous DNA locus, D4S43, has now been found that shows extremely tight linkage to HD. Like the disease gene, D4S43 is located in the most distal region of the chromosome 4 short arm, flanked by D4S10 and the telomere. In three extended HD kindreds, D4S43 displays no recombination with HD, placing it within 0 to 1.5 centimorgans of the genetic defect. Expansion of the D4S43 region to include 108 kilobases of cloned DNA has allowed identification of eight restriction fragment length polymorphisms and at least two independent coding segments. In the absence of crossovers, these genes must be considered candidates for the site of the HD defect, although the D4S43 restriction fragment length polymorphisms do not display linkage disequilibrium with the disease gene.