Primary autosomal recessive microcephaly is a clinical diagnosis of exclusion in an individual with a head circumference >/=4 SDs below the expected age-and-sex mean. There is associated moderate mental retardation, and neuroimaging shows a small but structurally normal cerebral cortex. The inheritance pattern in the majority of cases is considered to be autosomal recessive. Although genetic heterogeneity for this clinical phenotype had been expected, this has only recently been demonstrated, with the mapping of two loci for autosomal recessive primary microcephaly: MCPH1 at 8p and MCPH2 at 19q. We have studied a large multiaffected consanguineous pedigree, using a whole-genome search, and have identified a third locus, MCPH3 at 9q34. The minimal critical region is approximately 12 cM, being defined by the markers cen-D9S1872-D9S159-tel, with a maximum two-point LOD score of 3.76 (recombination fraction 0) observed for the marker D9S290.
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