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Hirschsprung, RET-SOX and beyond: The challenge of examining non-mendelian traits (Review)

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Hirschsprung disease (HSCR), or congenital intestinal aganglionosis, is a common hereditary disorder causing intestinal obstruction, thereby showing considerable phenotypic variation in conjunction with complex inheritance. Moreover, phenotypic assessment of the disease has been complicated since a subset of the observed mutations is also associated with several additional syndromic anomalies. Coding sequence mutations in e.g. RET, GDNF, EDNRB, EDN3, and SOX10 lead to long-segment (L-HSCR) as well as syndromic HSCR but fail to explain the transmission of the much more common short-segment form (S-HSCR). Furthermore, mutations in the RET gene are responsible for approximately half of the familial and some sporadic cases, strongly suggesting, on the one hand, the importance of non-coding variations and, on the other hand, that additional genes involved in the development of the enteric nervous system still await their discovery. For almost all of the identified HSCR genes incomplete penetrance of the HSCR phenotype has been reported, probably due to modifier loci. Therefore, HSCR has become a model for a complex oligo-/polygenic disorder in which the relationship between different genes creating a non-mendelian inheritance pattern still remains to be elucidated.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Division of Molecular Genetics, University of Tubingen, 72074 Tubingen, Germany

Publication date: January 1, 2002

More about this publication?
  • The International Journal of Molecular Medicine is a monthly, peer-reviewed journal devoted to the publication of high quality studies related to the molecular mechanisms of human disease. The journal welcomes research on all aspects of molecular and clinical research, ranging from biochemistry to immunology, pathology, genetics, human genomics, microbiology, molecular pathogenesis, molecular cardiology, molecular surgery and molecular psychology.

    The International Journal of Molecular Medicine aims to provide an insight for researchers within the community in regard to developing molecular tools and identifying molecular targets for the diagnosis and treatment of a diverse number of human diseases.
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