Molecular genetics and diagnosis of phenylketonuria: state of the art

Blau N, Shen N, Carducci C

Expert Review of Molecular Diagnostics 14(6):655-71, July 2014
DOI: 10.1586/14737159.2014.923760


Detection of individuals with phenylketonuria (PKU), an autosomal recessively inherited disorder in phenylalanine degradation, is straightforward and efficient due to newborn screening programs. A recent introduction of the pharmacological treatment option emerged rapid development of molecular testing. However, variants responsible for PKU do not all suppress enzyme activity to the same extent. A spectrum of over 850 variants, gives rise to a continuum of hyperphenylalaninemia from very mild, requiring no intervention, to severe classical PKU, requiring urgent intervention. Locus-specific and genotypes database are today an invaluable resource of information for more efficient classification and management of patients. The high-tech molecular methods allow patients’ genotype to be obtained in a few days, especially if each laboratory develops a panel for the most frequent variants in the corresponding population.

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