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Ethnicity can predict GLRA1 genotypes in hyperekplexia
  1. R H Thomas1,2,3,
  2. C J G Drew2,4,
  3. S E Wood4,
  4. C L Hammond2,5,
  5. S K Chung2,4,
  6. M I Rees2,4
  1. 1MRC Centre for Neuropsychiatric Genetics & Genomics, Cardiff University, Cardiff, Cathays, UK
  2. 2Wales Epilepsy Research Network (WERN), College of Medicine, Swansea University, Swansea, UK
  3. 3Epilepsy Research Centre, Austin Hospital, Heidelberg, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
  4. 4Institute of Life Science, College of Medicine, Swansea University, Swansea, UK
  5. 5Genetic Counselling Service, Guy's and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust, St Thomas’ Hospital, London, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Rhys H Thomas, MRC Centre for Neuropsychiatric Genetics & Genomics, Hadyn Ellis Building, Cathays, Cardiff University, Cardiff CF24 4HQ, UK; Rhys-Thomas{at} Professor Mark I Rees, College of Medicine, Institute of Life Science, Swansea University, SA2 8PP, UK;


Objectives Hyperekplexia is predominantly caused by mutations in the α-1 subunit of the inhibitory glycine receptor (GLRA1). Three quarters of cases show autosomal-recessive inheritance.

Methods We carefully ascertained reports of ethnicity from our hyperekplexia research cohort. These were compared with all published cases of hyperekplexia with an identified genetic cause. Ethnicities were subgrouped as Caucasian, Asian, Arabic, Turkish, Jewish or Afro-American.

Results We report the ethnicity of 90 cases: 56 cases from our service augmented by 34 cases from the literature. Homozygous deletions of exons 1 to 7 are predominantly seen in people with Turkish backgrounds (n=16/17, p<0.001). In contrast, the dominant point mutation R271 is seen in people of Asian, Caucasian and African-American heritage (n=19) but not in people with Arab or Turkish ethnicities (p<0.001).

Conclusions Self-declared ethnicity can predict gene-screening outcomes. Cultural practices influence the inheritance patterns and a Caucasian founder is postulated for R271 mutations.

  • Neurogenetics
  • Paediatric Neurology
  • Genetics
  • Movement Disorders

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