To determine the genetic origin of the complete hydatidiform mole, 20 abnormal pregnancies were studied with restriction fragment length polymorphism with five genomic probes: EJ 6.6, β-globin gene, 3′α-hypervariable region, J-Bir, and St14. In the 12 cases of molar pregnancy, pure paternal origin was proved in 11 cases, but both maternal and paternal inheritance were shown in only one case. In the cases with pure paternal origin, all of the restriction fragment length polymorphisms were homozygous, although those of the fathers were heterozygous at 15 loci. In the four cases that mimicked hydatidiform mole but were diagnosed as hydropic change of villi, both paternal and maternal inheritance were noted. In the four pregnancies with blighted ovum, both paternal and maternal inheritance were shown in three cases; and in one case with a balanced translocation between chromosomes 13 and 14, only paternal inheritance was noted. This study showed that most of the complete hydatidiform moles were caused by fertilization of an empty egg by a duplicated haploid sperm, but rare exceptions may exist.
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