Tests reveal Folbigg children carried deadly gene
A leading genetic researcher has written a letter to the Kathleen Folbigg inquiry, calling for a re-evaluation of her convictions.
ABC journalist Quentin McDermott has revealed the contents of Professor Peter Schwartz’s letter, which notes that the discovery of a genetic variant “justifies fully re-opening the case”.
Professor Schwartz is a world authority on the genetic causes of Long QT syndrome — a heart rhythm condition that can cause Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.
He believes the identification of a genetic variant known as “CALM2 G114R” in both Kath and two of her children raises “significant doubts” over her conviction.
The CALM2 variant is a gene associated with life-threatening cardiac episodes during infancy and early childhood.
Professor Carola Vinuesa, one of Australia’s foremost researchers in genetics, also determined the genetic variant was “likely” to have caused the deaths of Kath’s daughters Laura and Sarah.
Professors Schwartz and Vinuesa said: “We think it is likely that the two female Folbigg children died as a result of the CALM2 G114R variant, while the two male children died from different causes that could also be genetic.”
Schwartz notes: “My conclusion is that the accusation of infanticide might have been premature and not correct.”