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A novel founder BBS1 mutation explains a unique high prevalence of Bardet–Biedl syndrome in the Faroe Islands
  1. T Duelund Hjortshøj,
  2. K Grønskov,
  3. K Brøndum-Nielsen,
  4. T Rosenberg
  1. Kennedy Center, Glostrup, Denmark
  1. Dr T D Hjortshøj, Kennedy Center, Gl. Landevej 7, DK-2600 Glostrup, Denmark; tid{at}


Background/aim: Bardet–Biedl syndrome is a multiorgan disease presenting with retinitis pigmentosa leading to blindness. The aim of the study was to investigate the genetic background of Bardet–Biedl syndrome in the Faroe Island. It was hypothesised that a common genetic background for the syndrome would be found.

Methods: Patients were identified from the files of the Retinitis Pigmentosa Register at the National Eye Clinic, Denmark. The diagnosis of Bardet–Biedl syndrome was verified from medical files. Mutational screening of BBS1, BBS2, BBS4, MKKS and BBS10 was done by denaturing high-performance liquid chromatography.

Results: Out of 13 prevalent cases in the Faroe Islands, 10 patients from nine families were included. A novel splice site mutation in BBS1, c.1091+3G>C, was identified, and this was predicted to affect protein function by skipping 16 amino acids. Nine patients were homozygous for this mutation, while one patient was compound heterozygous with a recurrent BBS1 mutation, p.Met390Arg. The patients presented with severe ophthalmic phenotypes, while the systemic manifestations of the disease were apparently milder.

Conclusion: A novel BBS1 mutation was identified, most probably a founder mutation, further confirming the Faroe Islands as a genetic isolate. The phenotypic expression of the Faroese patients suggests that different mutations in BBS1 affect various organs differently.

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  • Funding: This work was supported by grants from the Danish Eye Research Foundation, the Danish Eye Protection Society and the A.P. Møller Foundation.

  • Competing interests: None.

  • Ethics approval: Ethics approval was provided by Kennedy Center Internal Scientific Review.

  • Patient consent: Obtained.