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A patient with Angelman syndrome and a 46,XY/47,XY,+inv dup(15)(pter-->q11: q11-->pter) karyotype and a patient with Prader-Willi syndrome and a 46,XY/47,XY,+inv dup(15)(pter-->q12: q12-->pter) karyotype were investigated with molecular markers along chromosome 15. Paternal uniparental isodisomy was found for all informative markers in the first case which indicates that this, rather than the presence of the extra chromosome, is the cause of the Angelman syndrome phenotype. Similarly, the PWS patient showed maternal uniparental distomy with absence of PWS region material on the inv dup(15) chromosome. If (1) marker chromosomes are an occasional by product of 'rescuing' a trisomic fertilisation, or (2) if duplication of the normal homologue in a zygote which has inherited a marker in place of the normal corresponding chromosome 'rescues' an aneuploid fertilisation, or (3) if the presence or formation of a marker chromosome increases the probability of non-disjunction, then uniparental disomy might be found occasionally in other subjects with de novo marker chromosomes.