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The main features of Silver-Russell syndrome (SRS) are pre- and postnatal growth restriction and a characteristic small, triangular face. SRS is also accompanied by other dysmorphic features including fifth finger clinodactyly and skeletal asymmetry. The disorder is clinically and genetically heterogeneous, and various modes of inheritance and abnormalities involving chromosomes 7, 8, 15, 17, and 18 have been associated with SRS and SRS-like cases. However, only chromosomes 7 and 17 have been consistently implicated in patients with a strict clinical diagnosis of SRS. Two cases of balanced translocations with breakpoints in 17q23.3-q25 and two cases with a hemizygous deletion of the chorionic somatomammatropin gene (CSH1) on 17q24.1 have been associated with SRS, strongly implicating this region. Maternal uniparental disomy for chromosome 7 (mUPD(7)) occurs in up to 10% of SRS patients, with disruption of genomic imprinting underlying the disease status in these cases. Recently, two SRS patients with a maternal duplication of 7p11.2-p13, and a single proband with segmental mUPD for the region 7q31-qter, were described. These key patients define two separate candidate regions for SRS on both the p and q arms of chromosome 7. Both the 7p11.2-p13 and 7q31-qter regions are subject to genomic imprinting and the homologous regions in the mouse are associated with imprinted growth phenotypes. This review provides an overview of the genetics of SRS, and focuses on the newly defined candidate regions on chromosome 7. The analyses of imprinted candidate genes within 7p11.2-p13 and 7q31-qter, and gene candidates on distal 17q, are discussed.
Keywords: Silver-Russell syndrome; imprinting; mUPD(7); candidates