Smith-Magenis syndrome (SMS) and duplication 17p11.2 (dup17p11.2) syndrome are multiple congenital anomalies/mental retardation disorders resulting from either a deletion or duplication of the 17p11.2 region, respectively. The retinoic acid induced 1 (RAI1) gene is the causative gene for SMS and is included in the 17p11.2 region of dup17p11.2 syndrome. Currently SMS and dup17p11.2 syndrome are diagnosed using a combination of clinically recognized phenotypes and molecular cytogenetic analyses such as fluorescent in situ hybridization (FISH). However, these methods have proven to be highly expensive, time consuming, and dependent upon the low resolving capabilities of the assay. To address the need for improved diagnostic methods for SMS and dup17p11.2 syndrome, we designed a quantitative real-time PCR (Q-PCR) assay that measures RAI1 copy number using the comparative Ct method, ΔΔCt. We tested our assay with samples blinded to their previous SMS or dup17p11.2 syndrome status. In all cases, we were able to determine RAI1 copy number status and render a correct diagnosis accordingly. We validated these results by both FISH and multiplex ligation-dependent probe amplification (MLPA). We conclude that Q-PCR is an accurate, reproducible, low-cost, and reliable assay that can be employed for routine use in SMS and dup17p11.2 diagnosis.
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