Herein we report the results of mutation analysis of the ATP7B gene in a group of 134 Wilson disease (WD) families (268 chromosomes) prevalently of Italian origin. Using the SSCP and sequencing methods we identified 71 disease-causing mutations. Twenty-four were novel, while 19 more mutations already described, were identified in new populations in this study. A known mutation G591D showed a regional distribution, since it was only detected in 38.5% of the analyzed chromosomes in WD patients originating from Apulia, a region of South Italy. Detection of new mutations in the ATP7B gene increases our capability of molecular analysis that is essential for early diagnosis and treatment of WD.
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