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Early prenatal diagnosis of the fragile X was attempted in 44 pregnancies, including one twin pregnancy at risk of Martin-Bell (MB) syndrome. The sex ratio was 24M:21F. The fragile site was reproducibly demonstrated in cultured chorionic villus (CV) cells in eight male and five female fetuses. Six of the male and three of the female fetuses were terminated. Simultaneous RFLP analysis provided confirmative data with flanking DNA markers in 3 of 13 analysed cases. Recombination and/or non-informativeness at available distal and/or proximal loci were found in nine cases. In one male fetus, discordance between the haplotype and cytogenetics (fragile-X-negative) suggested the presence of a normal male transmitter, a double meiotic cross-over within the region, or a false-negative cytogenetic diagnosis. However, discordance between prenatal and post-termination/postnatal cytogenetic findings was not observed in this series. The use of excess thymidine for induction of the fragile X in cultured CV cells provided in the majority of cases a safe and rapid method for cytogenetic diagnosis, with options for early induced termination in fragile-X-positive pregnancies, for simultaneous RFLP analysis, and for subsequent second-trimester analysis of fetal blood in complicated cases.

Original publication




Journal article


Prenat Diagn

Publication Date





609 - 619


Adolescent, Adult, Cells, Cultured, Chorionic Villi Sampling, Female, Fragile X Syndrome, Humans, Male, Pedigree, Polymorphism, Restriction Fragment Length, Pregnancy, Pregnancy Trimester, First