Phenylketonuria in U.S. blacks: Molecular analysis of the phenylalanine hydroxylase gene

Karen J. Hofman, Gary Steel, Haig H. Kazazian, David Valle

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24 Scopus citations


We investigated the frequency, origin, and molecular basis of phenylketonuria (PKU) in U.S. blacks. On the basis of 10 years of Maryland newborn-screening data, we found the frequency to be 1/50,000, or one-third that in whites. We performed haplotype analysis of the phenylalanine hydroxylase (PAH) gene of 36 U.S. blacks, 16 from individuals with classical PKU and 20 from controls. In blacks 20% of wild-type PAH alleles have a common Caucasian haplotype (i.e., haplotype 1), whereas 80% had a variety of haplotypes, all rare in Caucasians and Asians. One of these, haplotype 15, accounted for a large fraction (30%). Among black mutant PAH alleles, 20% have a haplotype (i.e., either haplotype 1 or haplotype 4) common in Caucasians; 40% have a haplotype rare in Caucasians and Asians, and 40% have one of two previously undescribed haplotypes. Both can be derived from known haplotypes by a single event. One of these haplotypes is characterized by a new MspI restriction site, located in intron 8, which was present in five of 16 black mutant alleles but was not present in 60 U.S. black control, 20 U.S. Caucasian control, or 20 Caucasian mutant PAH alleles. Sequence analysis of DNA from a single individual homozygous for the new MspI associated haplotype, shows homozygosity for a C→T transition at nucleotide 896 in exon 7 of the PAH cDNA, resulting in the conversion of leucine 255 to serine (L255S).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)791-798
Number of pages8
JournalAmerican journal of human genetics
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1991

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics
  • Genetics(clinical)


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