A national distribution of 66 French patients, from 49 sibships, has been studied. Segregation analysis, using the maximum likelihood method, was found to agree with the theoretical values expected in recessive autosomal inheritance. The birthplaces of these patients show an unequal geographic distribution of cystinosis, the incidence being higher in Western France. Compared with the total number of live births during the period 1959 to 1972, the minimum incidence of the condition in the province of Brittany is 1 per 25 909, and the gene frequency 0.0062. In the rest of France, the minimum incidence is 1 per 326,440 and the gene frequency 0.0018. Application of Dahlberg's formula gives a similar result. The mean inbreeding coefficient is 530 X 10(-5), a figure 23 times higher than the mean coefficient of France. An indirect test of inbreeding, the distance between parental birthplaces, was studied, first using the French administrative boundaries, second by using kilometers. This distance was constantly smaller for the parents of patients than for the parents of controls. Analysis of two erythrocyte polymorphisms (ABO and Rh) showed a large excess of group A patients when compared with overall French data. These findings are difficult to interpret on genetic grounds. The genetic reasons for the unequal geographic distribution of cystinosis in France are discussed.
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