Stickler syndrome is an autosomal dominant disease with ocular (severe myopia, vitreal degeneration, and retinal detachment) and other systemic manifestations (hearing loss, cleft palate, epiphyseal dysplasia, and premature osteoarthritis). As with other dominantly inherited conditions, the clinical phenotype of Stickler syndrome varies considerably. To date, all mutations have been located in the type II procollagen (COL2A1) gene. Analysis of a C-->T mutation we had identified previously, in COL2A1 gene in exon 40, in a three generation pedigree showed the loss of a cleavage site for the TaqI restriction enzyme. We designed a rapid PCR based restriction enzyme assay to detect this mutation and used it to establish the diagnosis in a neonate from the same pedigree, presenting with the first occurrence of the Pierre-Robin sequence in the family and minimal ocular findings. These results underline the potential diagnostic value of many as yet undetected DNA mutations in families affected with Stickler syndrome, since the variability of the phenotype can impede accurate diagnosis, appropriate genetic counselling, and effective intervention and prophylactic treatment for affected people.
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