Molecular Diagnosis of Fragile X Syndrome in Subjects with Intellectual Disability of Unknown Origin: Implications of Its Prevalence in Regional Pakistan Academic Article uri icon


  • Fragile-X syndrome (FXS) is the most common form of inherited intellectual disability (ID) and affects 0.7-3.0% of intellectually compromised population of unknown etiology worldwide. It is mostly caused by repeat expansion mutations in the FMR1 at chromosome Xq27.3. The present study aimed to develop molecular diagnostic tools for a better detection of FXS, to assess implementation of diagnostic protocols in a developing country and to estimate the prevalence of FXS in a cohort of intellectually disabled subjects from Pakistan. From a large pool of individuals with below normal IQ range, 395 subjects with intellectual disability of unknown etiology belonging to different regions of the country were recruited. Conventional-PCR, modified-PCR and Southern blot analysis methods were employed for the detection of CGG repeat polymorphisms in the FMR1 gene. Initial screening with conventional-PCR identified 13 suspected patients. Subsequent investigations through modified PCR and Southern blot analyses confirmed the presence of the FMR1 mutation, suggesting a prevalence of 3.5% and 2.8% (mean 3.3%) among the male and female ID patients, respectively. These diagnostic methods were further customized with the in-house conditions to offer robust screening of referral patients/families for diagnostics and genetic counseling. Prescreening and early diagnosis are crucial for designing a prudent strategy for the management of subjects with ID. Outcome of the study recommends health practitioners for implementation of molecular based FXS diagnosis in routine clinical practice to give a better care for patients similar to the ones included in the study.


  • Kanwal, Madiha
  • Alyas, Saadia
  • Afzal, Muhammad
  • Mansoor, Atika
  • Abbasi, Rashda
  • Tassone, Flora
  • Malik, Sajid
  • Mazhar, Kehkashan

publication date

  • 2015

has subject area