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To date over 150 X linked mental retardation (XLMR) conditions have been documented. We describe a five generation South African family with XLMR, comprising 16 affected males and 10 carrier females. The clinical features common to the 16 males included profound mental retardation (100%), mutism despite apparently normal hearing (100%), grand mal epilepsy (87.5%), and limited life expectancy (68.8%). Of the four affected males examined, all had mild craniofacial dysmorphology and three were noted to have bilateral ophthalmoplegia and truncal ataxia. Three of 10 obligate female carriers had mild mental retardation. Cerebellar and brain stem atrophy was shown by cranial imaging and postmortem examination. Linkage analysis shows the gene to be located between markers DXS424 (Xq24) and DXS548 (Xq27.3), with a maximum two point lod score of 3.10.
Keywords: X linked mental retardation; epilepsy; cerebellar atrophy; ophthalmoplegia