Mutations in the gap junction β2 (GJB2) gene, Connexin 26 (Cx26), cause nonsyndromic sensorineural recessive deafness (NSRD). Two frameshift mutations, 167delT and 35delG, are the most frequent Cx26 lesions causing NSRD. The 35delG mutation is panethnic, while the 167delT lesion occurs almost exclusively in the Ashkenazi Jewish population at a carrier frequency of 2 to 4%. To facilitate carrier detection, a simple nonradioactive allele-specific oligonucleotide (ASO) hybridization assay was developed for the 167delT and 35delG mutations. Screening of 1012 anonymous Ashkenazi Jewish individuals from the New York Metropolitan area revealed carrier frequencies for 167delT and 35delG of 3.96% (95% CI: 2.75-5.15%) and 0.69% (95% CI: 0.18-1.20%), respectively. This sensitive, specific, and relatively inexpensive method can reliably identify affected newborns and patients with NSRD as well as facilitate carrier screening for Connexin 26 deafness in the Ashkenazi Jewish community.
- Allele-specific oligonucleotide hybridization
- Ashkenazi Jewish population
- Connexin 26
- Nonsyndromic recessive deafness