Clinical observations were made on a series of 156 boys with severe mental retardation, before cytogenetic results were known. The clinical features that helped to distinguish the 14 boys with the fragile X chromosome from those without were: head circumference over the 50th centile, postpubertal testicular volume over the 50th centile, and an IQ between 35 and 70. If the above clinical features were all present, then the chance of finding the fragile X chromosome was 1 in 3.6, whereas the chance of finding this abnormality in any boy with severe idiopathic mental retardation, regardless of his clinical features, was 1 in 9. Two boys with fragile X syndrome did not, however, possess any of the above clinical features. Moreover, some of the other retarded boys had clinical features of the syndrome, or an X linked pedigree, but lacked the chromosome abnormality.
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