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Sameena Mohmood, Asma F. Sherwani, Fauzia Khan, Rizwan H. Khan, Md. Asim Azfer
Med Sci Monit 2003; 9(9): RA237-245
Dynamic mutations in human genes result from unstable trinucleotide repeats which are expanded within the genome. These expansions of trinucleotide repeats have been shown to be the etiological factors in various neuropsychiatric diseases and other genetic disorders. This hypothesis is supported by various independent studies showing large expansion of trimeric repeats, such as CAG/CTG/CCG/CGG/AAG, in patient DNA samples. These repeats are also identified in other disease loci not clearly related to particular diseases, which indicates that such expansions are one of the general forms of evolution occurring throughout the human genome. The trinucleotide repeat expansions occur during meiosis and are generally irreversible. Accumulation of these repeats over generations eventually ends in a deficiency of replication. There is evidence that certain ethnic groups in the human population have predispositions for expanded repeats related to neuropsychiatric diseases. It is likely that racial/ethnic differences reflect variations, which suggests the possibility of an underlying complex biological process. The present review highlights the importance of repeat expansions in some neuropsychiatric diseases, such as spinal and bulbular atrophy (SBMA), spinocerebellar ataxia (SCA), Huntington’s disease (HD), schizophrenia, myotonic dystrophy (DM) and fragile-X syndrome.