Werdnig-Hoffmann disease is a common autosomal recessive neuromuscular disorder that results in paralysis and death. No treatment to prevent this disease or to alter its unremitting course has been found. Recently, linkage analysis with cloned DNA probes has shown that the mutation causing Werdnig-Hoffmann disease is located on chromosome 5q12-q14. We performed genetic analysis for the prenatal diagnosis of Werdnig-Hoffmann disease in seven at risk families. Two fetuses were diagnosed as being affected and the remainder as unaffected, and this was confirmed after birth. This study shows that prenatal diagnosis of Werdnig-Hoffmann disease has become feasible.
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