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The GJB2 gene is the most frequent cause of congenital or early onset hearing loss worldwide. In this study, we investigated the haplotypes of six GJB2 mutations frequently observed in Japanese hearing loss patients (i.e., c.235delC, p.V37I, p.[G45E; Y136X], p.R143W, c.176_191del, and c.299_300delAT) and analyzed whether the recurring mechanisms for each mutation are due to founder effects or mutational hot spots. Furthermore, regarding the mutations considered to be caused by founder effects, we also calculated the age at which each mutation occurred using the principle of genetic clock analysis. As a result, all six mutations were observed in a specific haplotype and were estimated to derive from founder effects. Our haplotype data together with their distribution patterns indicated that p.R143W and p.V37I may have occurred as multiple events, and suggested that both a founder effect and hot spot may be involved in some mutations. With regard to the founders' age of frequent GJB2 mutations, each mutation may have occurred at a different time, with the oldest, p.V37I, considered to have occurred around 14,500 years ago, and the most recent, c.176_191del, considered to have occurred around 4000 years ago.


Jun Shinagawa, Hideaki Moteki, Shin-Ya Nishio, Yoshihiro Noguchi, Shin-Ichi Usami. Haplotype Analysis of GJB2 Mutations: Founder Effect or Mutational Hot Spot? Genes. 2020 Feb 27;11(3)

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PMID: 32120898

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