Evidence of linkage (lod=3.1, θ=0.05) was reported previously in one large kindred (the Brandywine genetic isolate) for an autosomal dominant form of early onset periodontitis (EOP) with a protein polymorphism in the vitamin D binding protein (GC) located on chromosome 4q12-q13. To evaluate the generality of this finding, 19 unrelated families (228 individuals), each with two or more EOP affected individuals, were ascertained and sampled. A restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP) at the GC locus and eight other polymorphic DNA markers and two red blood cell antigens located on proximal chromosome 4q in the vicinity of the GC locus were typed. Twelve genetic models of EOP were evaluated, which varied in diagnostic classification, penetrance, and mode of disease transmission. Results for all models strongly exclude linkage between an EOP susceptibility gene and this chromosomal region assuming locus homogeneity. Our data statistically exclude (lod≤ -2.0) the possibility that more than 40% of our families are linked to this candidate region for one model tested. Linkage under heterogeneity was excluded less strongly for other models, but no significant evidence in support of linkage was obtained for any model. Our results indicate that either the previous report of linkage was a false positive, or that there are two or more unlinked forms of EOP, with the form located in 4q12-q13 being less common.
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