In search of triallelism in Bardet-Biedl syndrome

Leen Abu-Safieh, Shamsa Al-Anazi, Lama Al-Abdi, Mais Hashem, Hisham Alkuraya, Mushari Alamr, Mugtaba O. Sirelkhatim, Zuhair Al-Hassnan, Basim Alkuraya, Jawahir Y. Mohamed, Ahmad Al-Salem, May Alrashed, Eissa Faqeih, Ameen Softah, Amal Al-Hashem, Sami Wali, Zuhair Rahbeeni, Moeen Alsayed, Arif O. Khan, Lihadh Al-GazaliPeter E.M. Taschner, Selwa Al-Hazzaa, Fowzan S. Alkuraya

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

97 Citations (Scopus)


Bardet-Biedl syndrome (BBS) is a model disease for ciliopathy in humans. The remarkable genetic heterogeneity that characterizes this disease is consistent with accumulating data on the interaction between the proteins encoded by the 14 BBS genes identified to date. Previous reports suggested that such interaction may also extend to instances of oligogenic inheritance in the form of triallelism which defies the long held view of BBS as an autosomal recessive disease. In order to investigate the magnitude of triallelism in BBS, we conducted a comprehensive analysis of all 14 BBS genes as well as the CCDC28B-modifier gene in a cohort of 29 BBS families, most of which are multiplex. Two in trans mutations in a BBS gene were identified in each of these families for a total of 20 mutations including 12 that are novel. In no instance did we observe two mutations in unaffected members of a given family, or observe the presence of a third allele that convincingly acted as a modifier of penetrance and supported the triallelic model of BBS. In addition to presenting a comprehensive genotype/phenotype overview of a large set of BBS mutations, including the occurrence of nonsyndromic retinitis pigmentosa in a family with a novel BBS9 mutation, our study argues in favor of straightforward autosomal recessive BBS in most cases.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)420-427
Number of pages8
JournalEuropean Journal of Human Genetics
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2012


  • epistasis
  • modifiers
  • oligogenic
  • penetrance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics
  • Genetics(clinical)


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