The authors suggest a simplification for the current molecular genetic testing of spinal muscular atrophy (SMA). Deletion analysis of SMN1 exon 7 alone may be necessary and sufficient for the diagnosis of SMA. It is based on sole contribution of survival motor neuron 1 (SMN1) exon 7 to SMA pathogenesis.
We undertook the clinical feature examination and dystrophin analysis using multiplex ligation-dependent probe amplification (MLPA) and direct DNA sequencing of selected exons in a cohort of 35 Malaysian Duchenne/Becker muscular dystrophy (DMD/BMD) patients. We found 27 patients with deletions of one or more exons, 2 patients with one exon duplication, 2 patients with nucleotide deletion, and 4 patients with nonsense mutations (including 1 patient with two nonsense mutations in the same exon). Although most cases showed compliance to the reading frame rule, we found two unrelated DMD patients with an in-frame deletion of the gene. Two novel mutations have been detected in the Dystrophin gene and our results were compatible with other studies where the majority of the mutations (62.8%) are located in the distal hotspot. However, the frequency of the mutations in our patient varied as compared with those found in other populations.