One form of familial progressive external ophthalmoplegia with multiple mitochondrial DNA deletions recently has been associated with mutations in POLG1, the gene encoding pol γA, the catalytic subunit of mitochondrial DNA polymerase. We screened the POLG1 gene in several PEO families and identified five different heterozygous missense mutations of POLG1 in 10 autosomal dominant families. Recessive mutations were found in three families. Our data show that mutations of POLG1 are the most frequent cause of familial progressive external ophthalmoplegia associated with accumulation of multiple mitochondrial DNA deletions, accounting for approximately 45% of our family cohort.
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