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Mutations, Dystrophin, South Asia, Muscular Dystrophies


Background: The phenotype of Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) and Becker muscular dystrophy (BMD) patients is determined by the type of DMD gene variation, its location, effect on reading frame, and its size. The primary objective of this investigation was to determine the frequency and distribution of DMD gene variants (deletions/duplications) in Sri Lanka through the utilization of a combined approach involving multiplex polymerase chain reaction (mPCR) followed by Multiplex Ligation Dependent Probe Amplification (MLPA) and compare to the international literature. The current consensus is that MLPA is a labor efficient yet expensive technique for identifying deletions and duplications in the DMD gene.

Methodology: Genetic analysis was performed in a cohort of 236 clinically suspected pediatric and adult myopathy patients in Sri Lanka, using mPCR and MLPA. A comparative analysis was conducted between our findings and literature data.

Results: In the entire patient cohort (n = 236), mPCR solely was able to identify deletions in the DMD gene in 131/236 patients (DMD-120, BMD-11). In the same cohort, MLPA confirmed deletions in 149/236 patients [DMD-138, BMD -11]. These findings suggest that mPCR has a detection rate of 95% (131/138) among all patients who received a diagnosis. The distal and proximal deletion hotspots for DMD were exons 45–55 and 6–15. Exon 45–60 identified as a novel in-frame variation hotspot. Exon 45–59 was a hotspot for BMD deletions. Comparisons with the international literature show significant variations observed in deletion and duplication frequencies in DMD gene across different populations.

Conclusion: DMD gene deletions and duplications are concentrated in exons 45–55 and 2–20 respectively, which match global variation hotspots. Disparities in deletion and duplication frequencies were observed when comparing our data to other Asian and Western populations. Identified a 95% deletion detection rate for mPCR, making it a viable initial molecular diagnostic approach for low-resource countries where MLPA could be used to evaluate negative mPCR cases and cases with ambiguous mutation borders. Our findings may have important implications in the early identification of DMD with limited resources in Sri Lanka and to develop tailored molecular diagnostic algorithms that are regional and population specific and easily implemented in resource limited settings.

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© The Author(s) 2024. Open Access This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated in a credit line to the data. This article is originally published in European Journal of Medical Research (2024) 29:37.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.