Facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy (FSHD) is one of the common inherited neuromuscular disorders. The major gene involved, FSHD1, has been localised to chromosome 4q35. This 4q35 locus, detected by pE13-11 (D4F104S1), shows a mutation frequency of about 10% of the incidence. New mutants are characterised by de novo deletions of tens to hundreds of kilobases of DNA. Although these deletion fragments are very useful as a molecular genetic tool, their use in diagnostic DNA testing is hampered by multiple factors, particularly in familial cases. In this report we describe a protocol that can be used for DNA testing in well defined familial cases or proven de novo cases, and in the differential diagnosis of muscular dystrophy patients clinically suspected of having FSHD. In addition, we describe a prenatal diagnosis performed for FSHD1.
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