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Although trisomy of chromosome 21 is the most prevalent human genetic disorder, data from partial 21 aneuploidies are very scanty. Eight different partial aneuploidies for chromosome 21 were characterised by fluorescence quantitative PCR. Allelic dosage analysis was performed for each patient using 25 CHLC STRs covering the entire q arm. The length of the corresponding trisomies and monosomies was ascertained for five partial trisomics and three partial monosomics. All trisomic patients carried unbalanced translocations involving chromosome 21, whereas one of the monosomic patients bore a ring chromosome 21 and another showed an interstitial deletion of chromosome 21. The chromosomal breakpoints of two partial trisomy patients could be clearly delimited. However, the other three trisomies involved most of the 21 q arm as three allelic doses were detected for each marker. Although these latter patients do not show all the features of Down syndrome, genotype/phenotype correlations agree with previously reported data. The chromosomal breakpoints observed in two partially monosomic patients helped further to define the region involved in different phenotypic features associated with chromosome 21 monosomy. Telomeric material loss was also detected in a patient bearing a ring 21 chromosome. The parental origin of the aneuploidy was assigned for each case, which allowed us to conclude that two of the monosomic cases originated from de novo chromosomal rearrangements. There was no correlation with parental sex in contrast to trisomic patients originating from meiotic non-disjunction.
Keywords: Down syndrome; partial trisomy; partial monosomy; chromosome 21