World Fragile X Day | 24 Jul 2023

Source: IE

Why in News?

The World Fragile X Awareness Day is marked on 22nd July every year, started in 2021 to raise awareness about the rare genetic illness, Fragile X or Martin-Bell syndrome.

What is Fragile X or Martin-Bell Syndrome?

  • About:
    • Fragile X syndrome (FXS) is an inherited genetic disease passed down from parents to children that causes intellectual and developmental disabilities.
    • FXS is the most common hereditary cause of mental disability in boys. It affects 1 in 4,000 boys.
      • It’s less common in girls, affecting about 1 in every 8,000. Boys usually have more severe symptoms than girls.
    • People with FXS usually experience a range of developmental and learning problems.
    • The disease is a chronic or lifelong condition. Only some people with FXS are able to live independently.
  • Causes:
    • FXS is caused by a defect in the FMR1 gene located on the X chromosome.
    • The FMR1 (Fragile X Mental Retardation 1 gene) gene is located on the X chromosome in humans. It is responsible for producing a protein called FMRP (Fragile X Mental Retardation Protein), which plays a crucial role in normal brain development and function.
  • Risks:
    • Women who are carriers are at an increased risk for premature menopause, or menopause that starts before the age of 40.
    • Men who are carriers are at increased risk for a condition known as Fragile X Tremor Ataxia Syndrome (FXTAS).
      • The disorder results in progressive cerebellar ataxia, action tremor, Parkinsonism and cognitive decline.
    • It also can lead to difficulty with balance and walking. Male carriers may also be at an increased risk for Dementia.
  • Linked with Inheritance:
    • Women who carry Fragile X have a 50% chance of passing the mutated gene to each of her children. If she passes the affected gene, her children will either be carriers, or they will have Fragile X syndrome.
    • Men who carry Fragile X will pass the premutation to all their daughters but none of their sons. These daughters are carriers, but they do not have Fragile X syndrome.