A cluster of low copy repeats on the proximal long arm of chromosome 15 mediate various forms of stereotyped deletions and duplication events that cause a group of neurodevelopmental disorders that are associated with autism or autism spectrum disorders (ASD). The region is subject to genomic imprinting and the behavioral phenotypes associated with the chromosome 15q11.2-q13 disorders show a parent-of-origin specific effect that suggests that increased copy number of maternally derived alleles contributes to autism susceptibility. Notably, nonimprinted, biallellically expressed genes within the interval also have been shown to be misexpressed in brains of patients with chromosome 15q11.2-q13 genomic disorders, indicating that they also likely play a role in the phenotypic outcome. This review provides an overview of the phenotypes of these disorders and their relationships with ASD and outlines the regional genes that may contribute to the autism susceptibility imparted by copy number variation of the region.
Keywords: Autism, Autism spectrum disorders, Prader Willi syndrome, Angelman Syndrome, Interstitial Duplication Chromosome 15, Isodicentric Chromosome 15, Low Copy Repeats, Imprinting