Executive Function and Working Memory Deficits in Females with Fragile X Premutation

Osnat Segal*, Tamar Kowal, Yonit Banet-Levi, Lidia V. Gabis

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The Fragile X premutation is a genetic instability of the FMR1 gene caused by 55–199 recurrences of the CGG sequence, whereas there are only 7–54 repeats of the CGG sequence in the normal condition. While males with the premutation of Fragile X were found to have difficulties in executive functions and working memory, little data have been collected on females. This study is among the first to address executive functions and phonological memory in females with the Fragile X premutation. Twenty-three female carriers aged 20–55 years and twelve non carrier females matched in age and levels of education (in years) participated in this study. Executive functions and phonological memory were assessed using the self-report questionnaire The Behavior Rating Inventory of Executive Function (BRIEF) and behavioral measures (nonword repetitions, forward and backward digit span). Females who were carriers of the premutation of the FMR1 gene reported less efficient executive functions in the BRIEF questionnaire compared to the control group. In addition, a relationship was found between the number of repetitions on the CGG sequence of nucleotides, nonword repetitions, and forward digit span. The findings suggest that the premutation of Fragile X in females affects their performance of executive functions and may have impact on everyday functioning.

Original languageEnglish
Article number813
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2023


  • adults
  • clinical genetics
  • executive functions
  • females
  • fragile X premutation
  • phonological working memory


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