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Hereditary multiple osteochondroma (HMO) is one of the most common genetic skeletal disorders. It is caused by mutations in either EXT1 or EXT2 resulting in abnormal skeletal growth and morphogenesis. However, the spectrum and frequency of EXT1 and EXT2 mutations in Chinese patients with HMO was not previously investigated.Mutations were identified by performing Sanger sequencing analysis of the complete coding regions and flanking intronic sequences of EXT1 and EXT2, followed by multiplex ligation-dependent probe amplification (MLPA) analysis to detect gene deletions or duplications that could not be identified by the Sanger sequencing method.The present study identified pathogenic mutations in 93% (68/73) of unrelated HMO probands from 73 pedigrees. Mutations in EXT1 and EXT2 were identified in 53% (39/73) and 40% (29/73) of families. We identified 58 distinct mutations in EXT1 and EXT2, including 20 frameshift mutations, 16 nonsense mutations, 7 missense mutations, 9 splice site mutations, 5 large deletions, and 1 in-frame deletion mutation. Twenty-six of these mutations were novel and 32 were previously reported. Most of the mutations in EXT1 were base deletions or insertions (21/33), whereas the majority of those in EXT2 were single base substitution (18/25).Complete sequencing of both the EXT1 and EXT2 followed by MLPA analysis is recommended for genetic analysis of Chinese patients with HMO. This study provides a comprehensive characterization of the genetic aberrations found in Chinese patients with HMO and highlights the diagnostic value of molecular genetic analysis in this particular disease.