Ann Lab Med.  2020 Jul;40(4):326-330. 10.3343/alm.2020.40.4.326.

Carrier Frequency of Spinal Muscular Atrophy in a Large-scale Korean Population

  • 1Department of Laboratory Medicine, Hanyang University Guri Hospital, Hanyang University College of Medicine, Guri, Korea.
  • 2Center for Clinical Medicine, Samsung Biomedical Research Institute, Samsung Medical Center, Seoul, Korea.
  • 3Department of Laboratory Medicine, Boramae Hospital, Seoul National University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.
  • 4GC Genome, Yongin, Korea.


Spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) is an autosomal recessive disease characterized by progressive proximal muscle weakness and atrophy. Given the recent introduction of gene therapies, knowledge of the SMA carrier frequency in various populations has become important for developing screening programs for this disease. In total, 1,581 anonymous DNA samples from an umbilical cord blood bank were tested for SMN1 and SMN2 gene copies using a multiplex ligation-dependent probe amplification assay. Twenty-nine of the 1,581 newborns [1.83%; 95% confidence interval (CI), 1.25-2.66%] were SMA carriers with one copy of SMN1, and no homozygous SMN1 deletion was detected. The carrier frequency in this population was estimated to be 1,834 per 100,000 (95% CI, 1,254-2,659) or 1 in 55 (95% CI, 1/79-1/38). Our data indicate that SMA carriers are not uncommon in the Korean population and may serve as a reference for designing a population screening program in Korea.


Korea; Spinal muscular atrophy; Carrier frequency; multiplex ligation-dependent probe amplification

MeSH Terms

Anonyms and Pseudonyms
Fetal Blood
Infant, Newborn
Mass Screening
Multiplex Polymerase Chain Reaction
Muscle Weakness
Muscular Atrophy, Spinal*
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