Most estimates of germ-line mosaicism have been derived from families in which there has been transmission of a mutated allele to two or more children by an unaffected individual. Previously, analyses for somatic mosaicism detected five such individuals by PCR-based sequencing and haplotype analysis at a sensitivity of approximately 1 mutant per 10 wild-type alleles. To determine whether mutations that occur later in embryogenesis also give rise to somatic mosaicism, we analyzed leukocyte DNA from 17 individuals in whom a mutation in the factor IX gene was known to have originated. Methods capable of detecting 1 mutant allele in 100-10000 were utilized, and no further examples of somatic mosaicism were detected. If confirmed by future studies, the paucity of somatic mosaicism with mutant:wild-type allele frequencies ranging from 1:10 to 1:1000 (relative to the 11% of somatic mosaicism detected with mutant:wild-type allele frequencies of 1:1 to 1:10) may reflect a higher mutation rate and/or germ-line lineage allocation very early in embryogenesis.
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