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Unformatted text preview: Phenylketonuria (PKU) is recessively inherited disorder whose sufferers lack the ability to synthesize an enzyme to convert the amino acid phenylalanine into tyrosine Individuals homozygous recessive for this allele have a buildup of phenylalanine and abnormal breakdown products in the urine and blood. The breakdown products can be harmful to developing nervous systems and lead to mental retardation. 1 in 15,000 infants suffers from this problem. PKU homozygotes are now routinely tested for in most states. If you look closely at a product containing Nutra-sweet artificial sweetener, you will see a warning to PKU sufferers since phenylalanine is one of the amino acids in the sweetener. PKU sufferers are placed on a diet low in phenylalanine, enough for metabolic needs but not enough to cause the buildup of harmful intermediates....
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- Fall '10