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1.  Power to Detect Risk Alleles Using Genome-Wide Tag SNP Panels 
PLoS Genetics  2007;3(10):e170.
Advances in high-throughput genotyping and the International HapMap Project have enabled association studies at the whole-genome level. We have constructed whole-genome genotyping panels of over 550,000 (HumanHap550) and 650,000 (HumanHap650Y) SNP loci by choosing tag SNPs from all populations genotyped by the International HapMap Project. These panels also contain additional SNP content in regions that have historically been overrepresented in diseases, such as nonsynonymous sites, the MHC region, copy number variant regions and mitochondrial DNA. We estimate that the tag SNP loci in these panels cover the majority of all common variation in the genome as measured by coverage of both all common HapMap SNPs and an independent set of SNPs derived from complete resequencing of genes obtained from SeattleSNPs. We also estimate that, given a sample size of 1,000 cases and 1,000 controls, these panels have the power to detect single disease loci of moderate risk (λ ∼ 1.8–2.0). Relative risks as low as λ ∼ 1.1–1.3 can be detected using 10,000 cases and 10,000 controls depending on the sample population and disease model. If multiple loci are involved, the power increases significantly to detect at least one locus such that relative risks 20%–35% lower can be detected with 80% power if between two and four independent loci are involved. Although our SNP selection was based on HapMap data, which is a subset of all common SNPs, these panels effectively capture the majority of all common variation and provide high power to detect risk alleles that are not represented in the HapMap data.
Author Summary
Advances in high-throughput genotyping technology and the International HapMap Project have enabled genetic association studies at the whole-genome level. Our paper describes two genome-wide SNP panels that contain tag SNPs derived from the International HapMap Project. Tag SNPs are proxies for groups of highly correlated SNPs. Information can be captured for the entire group of correlated SNPs by genotyping only one representative SNP, the tag SNP. These whole-genome SNP panels also contain additional content thought to be overrepresented in disease, such as amino acid–changing nonsynonymous SNPs and mitochondrial SNPs. We show that these panels cover the genome with very high efficiency as measured by coverage of all HapMap SNPs and a set of SNPs derived from completely resequenced genes from the Seattle SNPs database. We also show that these panels have high power to detect disease risk alleles for both HapMap and non-HapMap SNPs. In complex disease where multiple risk alleles are believed to be involved, we show that the ability to detect at least one risk allele with the tag SNP panels is also high.
PMCID: PMC2000969  PMID: 17922574
2.  Genome Rearrangements Detected by SNP Microarrays in Individuals with Intellectual Disability Referred with Possible Williams Syndrome 
PLoS ONE  2010;5(8):e12349.
Intellectual disability (ID) affects 2–3% of the population and may occur with or without multiple congenital anomalies (MCA) or other medical conditions. Established genetic syndromes and visible chromosome abnormalities account for a substantial percentage of ID diagnoses, although for ∼50% the molecular etiology is unknown. Individuals with features suggestive of various syndromes but lacking their associated genetic anomalies pose a formidable clinical challenge. With the advent of microarray techniques, submicroscopic genome alterations not associated with known syndromes are emerging as a significant cause of ID and MCA.
Methodology/Principal Findings
High-density SNP microarrays were used to determine genome wide copy number in 42 individuals: 7 with confirmed alterations in the WS region but atypical clinical phenotypes, 31 with ID and/or MCA, and 4 controls. One individual from the first group had the most telomeric gene in the WS critical region deleted along with 2 Mb of flanking sequence. A second person had the classic WS deletion and a rearrangement on chromosome 5p within the Cri du Chat syndrome (OMIM:123450) region. Six individuals from the ID/MCA group had large rearrangements (3 deletions, 3 duplications), one of whom had a large inversion associated with a deletion that was not detected by the SNP arrays.
Combining SNP microarray analyses and qPCR allowed us to clone and sequence 21 deletion breakpoints in individuals with atypical deletions in the WS region and/or ID or MCA. Comparison of these breakpoints to databases of genomic variation revealed that 52% occurred in regions harboring structural variants in the general population. For two probands the genomic alterations were flanked by segmental duplications, which frequently mediate recurrent genome rearrangements; these may represent new genomic disorders. While SNP arrays and related technologies can identify potentially pathogenic deletions and duplications, obtaining sequence information from the breakpoints frequently provides additional information.
PMCID: PMC2930846  PMID: 20824207
3.  Submicroscopic deletions of 11q24-25 in individuals without Jacobsen syndrome: re-examination of the critical region by high-resolution array-CGH 
Jacobsen syndrome is a rare contiguous gene disorder that results from a terminal deletion of the long arm of chromosome 11. It is typically characterized by intellectual disability, a variety of physical anomalies and a distinctive facial appearance. The 11q deletion has traditionally been identified by routine chromosome analysis. Array-based comparative genomic hybridization (array-CGH) has offered new opportunities to identify and refine chromosomal abnormalities in regions known to be associated with clinical syndromes.
Using the 1 Mb BAC array (Spectral Genomics), we screened 70 chromosomally normal children with idiopathic intellectual disability (ID) and congenital abnormalities, and identified five cases with submicroscopic abnormalities believed to contribute to their phenotypes. Here, we provide detailed molecular cytogenetic descriptions and clinical presentation of two unrelated subjects with de novo submicroscopic deletions within chromosome bands 11q24-25. In subject 1 the chromosome rearrangement consisted of a 6.18 Mb deletion (from 128.25–134.43 Mb) and an adjacent 5.04 Mb duplication (from 123.15–128.19 Mb), while in subject 2, a 4.74 Mb interstitial deletion was found (from 124.29–129.03 Mb). Higher resolution array analysis (385 K Nimblegen) was used to refine all breakpoints. Deletions of the 11q24-25 region are known to be associated with Jacobsen syndrome (JBS: OMIM 147791). However, neither of the subjects had the typical features of JBS (trigonocephaly, platelet disorder, heart abnormalities). Both subjects had ID, dysmorphic features and additional phenotypic abnormalities: subject 1 had a kidney abnormality, bilateral preauricular pits, pectus excavatum, mild to moderate conductive hearing loss and behavioral concerns; subject 2 had macrocephaly, an abnormal MRI with delayed myelination, fifth finger shortening and squaring of all fingertips, and sensorineural hearing loss.
Two individuals with ID who did not have the typical clinical features of Jacobsen syndrome were found to have deletions within the JBS region at 11q24-25. Their rearrangements facilitate the refinement of the JBS critical region and suggest that a) deletion of at least 3 of the 4 platelet function critical genes (ETS-1, FLI-1 and NFRKB and JAM3) is necessary for thrombocytopenia; b) one of the critical regions for heart abnormalities (conotruncal heart defects) may lie within 129.03 – 130.6 Mb; c) deletions of KCNJ1 and ADAMTS15 may contribute to the renal anomalies in Jacobsen Syndrome; d) the critical region for MRI abnormalities involves a region from 124.6 – 129.03 Mb. Our results reiterate the benefits of array-CGH for description of new phenotype/genotype associations and refinement of previously established ones.
PMCID: PMC2648978  PMID: 19000322
4.  Large Copy-Number Variations Are Enriched in Cases With Moderate to Extreme Obesity 
Diabetes  2010;59(10):2690-2694.
Obesity is an increasingly common disorder that predisposes to several medical conditions, including type 2 diabetes. We investigated whether large and rare copy-number variations (CNVs) differentiate moderate to extreme obesity from never-overweight control subjects.
Using single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) arrays, we performed a genome-wide CNV survey on 430 obese case subjects (BMI >35 kg/m2) and 379 never-overweight control subjects (BMI <25 kg/m2). All subjects were of European ancestry and were genotyped on the Illumina HumanHap550 arrays with ∼550,000 SNP markers. The CNV calls were generated by PennCNV software.
CNVs >1 Mb were found to be overrepresented in case versus control subjects (odds ratio [OR] = 1.5 [95% CI 0.5–5]), and CNVs >2 Mb were present in 1.3% of the case subjects but were absent in control subjects (OR = infinity [95% CI 1.2–infinity]). When focusing on rare deletions that disrupt genes, even more pronounced effect sizes are observed (OR = 2.7 [95% CI 0.5–27.1] for CNVs >1 Mb). Interestingly, obese case subjects who carry these large CNVs have moderately high BMI and do not appear to be extreme cases. Several CNVs disrupt known candidate genes for obesity, such as a 3.3-Mb deletion disrupting NAP1L5 and a 2.1-Mb deletion disrupting UCP1 and IL15.
Our results suggest that large CNVs, especially rare deletions, confer risk of obesity in patients with moderate obesity and that genes impacted by large CNVs represent intriguing candidates for obesity that warrant further study.
PMCID: PMC3279563  PMID: 20622171
5.  A novel deletion in 2q24.1q24.2 in a girl with mental retardation and generalized hypotonia: a case report 
Chromosomal imbalances, recognized as the major cause of mental retardation, are often due to submicroscopic deletions or duplications not evidenced by conventional cytogenetic methods. To date, interstitial deletion of long arm of chromosome 2 have been reported for more than 100 cases, although studies reporting small interstitial deletions involving the 2q24.1q24.2 region are rare. With the widespread clinical use of comparative genomic hybridization chromosomal microarray technology, several cryptic chromosome imbalances have outlined new genotype-phenotype correlations and isolated a number of distinctive clinical conditions.
here we report on a girl with mental retardation and generalized hypotonia. A genome-wide screen for copy number variations (CNVs) using single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) array revealed a 7.5 Mb interstitial deletion of chromosome region 2q24.1q24.2 encompassing 59 genes, which was absent in parents. The gene content analysis of the deleted region and review of the literature revealed the presence of some genes that may be indicated as good candidate in generating the main clinical features of the patient.
the present case represents a further patient described in the literature with an interstitial deletion of chromosome 2q24.1q24.2. Our patient shares some clinical features with the previously reported patients carriers of overlapping 2q24 deletion. Although more cases are needed to delineate the full-blown phenotype of 2q24.1q24.2 deletion syndrome, published data and present observation suggest that hemizygosity of this region results in a clinically recognizable phenotype. Considering these clinical and cytogenetic similarities, we suggest the existence of an emerging syndrome associated to 2q24.1q24.2 region.
PMCID: PMC3267682  PMID: 22214275
mental retardation; 2q24.1q24.2; array comparative genomic hybridization
6.  Evaluating the performance of commercial whole-genome marker sets for capturing common genetic variation 
BMC Genomics  2007;8:159.
New technologies have enabled genome-wide association studies to be conducted with hundreds of thousands of genotyped SNPs. Several different first-generation genome-wide panels of SNPs have been commercialized. The total amount of common genetic variation is still unknown; however, the coverage of commercial panels can be evaluated against reference population samples genotyped by the International HapMap project. Less information is available about coverage in samples from other populations.
In this study we compare four commercial panels: the HumanHap 300 and HumanHap 550 Array Sets from the Illumina Infinium series and the Mapping 100 K and Mapping 500 K Array Sets from the Affymetrix GeneChip series. Tagging performance is compared among HapMap CEPH (CEU), Asian (JPT, CHB) and Yoruba (YRI) population samples. It is also evaluated in an Estonian population sample with more than 1000 individuals genotyped in two 500-kbp ENCODE regions of chromosome 2: ENr112 on 2p16.3 and ENr131 on 2p37.1.
We found that in a non-reference Caucasian population, commercial SNP panels provide levels of coverage similar to those in the HapMap CEPH population sample. We present the proportions of universal and population-specific SNPs in all the commercial platforms studied.
PMCID: PMC1914356  PMID: 17562002
7.  Critical region in 2q31.2q32.3 deletion syndrome: Report of two phenotypically distinct patients, one with an additional deletion in Alagille syndrome region 
Standard cytogenetic analysis has revealed to date more than 30 reported cases presenting interstitial deletions involving region 2q31-q32, but with poorly defined breakpoints. After the postulation of 2q31.2q32.3 deletion as a clinically recognizable disorder, more patients were reported with a critical region proposed and candidate genes pointed out.
We report two female patients with de novo chromosome 2 cytogenetically visible deletions, one of them with an additional de novo deletion in chromosome 20p12.2p12.3. Patient I presents a 16.8 Mb deletion in 2q31.2q32.3 while patient II presents a smaller deletion of 7 Mb in 2q32.1q32.3, entirely contained within patient I deleted region, and a second 4 Mb deletion in Alagille syndrome region. Patient I clearly manifests symptoms associated with the 2q31.2q32.3 deletion syndrome, like the muscular phenotype and behavioral problems, while patient II phenotype is compatible with the 20p12 deletion since she manifests problems at the cardiac level, without significant dysmorphisms and an apparently normal psychomotor development.
Whereas Alagille syndrome is a well characterized condition mainly caused by haploinsufficiency of JAG1 gene, with manifestations that can range from slight clinical findings to major symptoms in different domains, the 2q31.2q32.3 deletion syndrome is still being delineated. The occurrence of both imbalances in reported patient II would be expected to cause a more severe phenotype compared to the individual phenotype associated with each imbalance, which is not the case, since there are no manifestations due to the 2q32 deletion. This, together with the fact that patient I deleted region overlaps previously reported cases and patient II deletion is outside this common region, reinforces the existence of a critical region in 2q31.3q32.1, between 181 to 185 Mb, responsible for the clinical phenotype.
PMCID: PMC3460744  PMID: 22550961
2q31.2q32.3 deletion; Critical region; Alagille syndrome
8.  A large-scale survey of the novel 15q24 microdeletion syndrome in autism spectrum disorders identifies an atypical deletion that narrows the critical region 
Molecular Autism  2010;1:5.
The 15q24 microdeletion syndrome has been recently described as a recurrent, submicroscopic genomic imbalance found in individuals with intellectual disability, typical facial appearance, hypotonia, and digital and genital abnormalities. Gene dosage abnormalities, including copy number variations (CNVs), have been identified in a significant fraction of individuals with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs). In this study we surveyed two ASD cohorts for 15q24 abnormalities to assess the frequency of genomic imbalances in this interval.
We screened 173 unrelated subjects with ASD from the Central Valley of Costa Rica and 1336 subjects with ASD from 785 independent families registered with the Autism Genetic Resource Exchange (AGRE) for CNVs across 15q24 using oligonucleotide arrays. Rearrangements were confirmed by array comparative genomic hybridization and quantitative PCR.
Among the patients from Costa Rica, an atypical de novo deletion of 3.06 Mb in 15q23-q24.1 was detected in a boy with autism sharing many features with the other 13 subjects with the 15q24 microdeletion syndrome described to date. He exhibited intellectual disability, constant smiling, characteristic facial features (high anterior hairline, broad medial eyebrows, epicanthal folds, hypertelorism, full lower lip and protuberant, posteriorly rotated ears), single palmar crease, toe syndactyly and congenital nystagmus. The deletion breakpoints are atypical and lie outside previously characterized low copy repeats (69,838-72,897 Mb). Genotyping data revealed that the deletion had occurred in the paternal chromosome. Among the AGRE families, no large 15q24 deletions were observed.
From the current and previous studies, deletions in the 15q24 region represent rare causes of ASDs with an estimated frequency of 0.1 to 0.2% in individuals ascertained for ASDs, although the proportion might be higher in sporadic cases. These rates compare with a frequency of about 0.3% in patients ascertained for unexplained intellectual disability and congenital anomalies. This atypical deletion reduces the minimal interval for the syndrome from 1.75 Mb to 766 kb, implicating a reduced number of genes (15 versus 38). Sequencing of genes in the 15q24 interval in large ASD and intellectual disability samples may identify mutations of etiologic importance in the development of these disorders.
PMCID: PMC2907565  PMID: 20678247
9.  Further clinical and molecular delineation of the 15q24 microdeletion syndrome 
Journal of Medical Genetics  2011;49(2):110-118.
Chromosome 15q24 microdeletion syndrome is a rare genomic disorder characterised by intellectual disability, growth retardation, unusual facial morphology and other anomalies. To date, 20 patients have been reported; 18 have had detailed breakpoint analysis.
To further delineate the features of the 15q24 microdeletion syndrome, the clinical and molecular characterisation of fifteen patients with deletions in the 15q24 region was performed, nearly doubling the number of reported patients.
Breakpoints were characterised using a custom, high-density array comparative hybridisation platform, and detailed phenotype information was collected for each patient.
Nine distinct deletions with different breakpoints ranging in size from 266 kb to 3.75 Mb were identified. The majority of breakpoints lie within segmental duplication (SD) blocks. Low sequence identity and large intervals of unique sequence between SD blocks likely contribute to the rarity of 15q24 deletions, which occur 8–10 times less frequently than 1q21 or 15q13 microdeletions in our series. Two small, atypical deletions were identified within the region that help delineate the critical region for the core phenotype in the 15q24 microdeletion syndrome.
The molecular characterisation of these patients suggests that the core cognitive features of the 15q24 microdeletion syndrome, including developmental delays and severe speech problems, are largely due to deletion of genes in a 1.1–Mb critical region. However, genes just distal to the critical region also play an important role in cognition and in the development of characteristic facial features associated with 15q24 deletions. Clearly, deletions in the 15q24 region are variable in size and extent. Knowledge of the breakpoints and size of deletion combined with the natural history and medical problems of our patients provide insights that will inform management guidelines. Based on common phenotypic features, all patients with 15q24 microdeletions should receive a thorough neurodevelopmental evaluation, physical, occupational and speech therapies, and regular audiologic and ophthalmologic screening.
PMCID: PMC3261729  PMID: 22180641
Academic medicine; clinical genetics; epilepsy and seizures; cytogenetics; molecular genetics; genetics; copy-number; developmental; epilepsy and seizures; neurology; neuroophthalmology; cancer: breast; cancer: colon; genetic screening/counselling; obstetrics and gynaecology
10.  Refining the 22q11.2 deletion breakpoints in DiGeorge syndrome by aCGH 
Cytogenetic and Genome Research  2009;124(2):113-120.
Hemizygous deletions of the chromosome 22q11.2 region result in the 22q11.2 deletion syndrome also referred to as DiGeorge, Velocardiofacial or Shprintzen syndromes. The phenotype is variable but commonly includes conotruncal cardiac defects, palatal abnormalities, learning and behavioral problems, immune deficiency, and facial anomalies. Four distinct highly homologous blocks of low copy number repeat sequences (LCRs) flank the deletion region. Mispairing of LCRs during meiosis with unequal meiotic exchange is assumed to cause the recurrent and consistent deletions. The proximal LCR is reportedly located at 22q11.2 from 17.037 to 17.083 Mb while the distal LCR is located from 19.835 to 19.880 Mb. Although the chromosome breakpoints are thought to localize to the LCRs, the positions of the breakpoints have been investigated in only a few individuals. Therefore, we used high resolution oligonucleotide-based 244K microarray comparative genomic hybridization (aCGH) to resolve the breakpoints in a cohort of 20 subjects with known 22q11.2 deletions. We also investigated copy number variation (CNV) in the rest of the genome. The 22q11.2 breaks occurred on either side of the LCR in our subjects, although more commonly on the distal side of the reported proximal LCR. The proximal breakpoints in our subjects spanned the region from 17.036 to 17.398 Mb. This region includes the genes DGCR6 (DiGeorge syndrome critical region protein 6) and PRODH (proline dehydrogenase 1), along with three open reading frames that may encode proteins of unknown function. The distal breakpoints spanned the region from 19.788 to 20.122 Mb. This region includes the genes GGT2 (gamma-glutamyltransferase-like protein 2), HIC2 (hypermethylated in cancer 2), and multiple transcripts of unknown function. The genes in these two breakpoint regions are variably hemizygous depending on the location of the breakpoints. Our 20 subjects had 254 CNVs throughout the genome, 94 duplications and 160 deletions, ranging in size from 1 kb to 2.4 Mb. The presence or absence of genes at the breakpoints depending on the size of the deletion plus variation in the rest of the genome due to CNVs likely contribute to the variable phenotype associated with the 22q11.2 deletion or DiGeorge syndrome.
PMCID: PMC2919456  PMID: 19420922
11.  A candidate gene approach to identify modifiers of the palatal phenotype in 22q11.2 deletion syndrome patients 
Palatal anomalies are one of the identifying features of 22q11.2 deletion syndrome (22q11.2DS) affecting about one third of patients. To identify genetic variants that increase the risk of cleft or palatal anomalies in 22q11.2DS patients, we performed a candidate gene association study in 101 patients with 22q11.2DS genotyped with the Affymetrix genome-wide human SNP array 6.0.
Patients from Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, USA and Wilhelmina Children's Hospital Utrecht, The Netherlands were stratified based on palatal phenotype (overt cleft, submucosal cleft, bifid uvula). SNPs in 21 candidate genes for cleft palate were analyzed for genotype-phenotype association. In addition, TBX1 sequencing was carried out. Quality control and association analyses were conducted using the software package PLINK.
Genotype and phenotype data of 101 unrelated patients (63 non-cleft subjects (62.4%), 38 cleft subjects (37.6%)) were analyzed. A Total of 39 SNPs on 10 genes demonstrated a p-value ≤0.05 prior to correction. The most significant SNPs were found on FGF10. However none of the SNPs remained significant after correcting for multiple testing.
Although these results are promising, analysis of additional samples will be required to confirm that variants in these regions influence risk for cleft palate or palatal anomalies in 22q11.2DS patients.
PMCID: PMC4098838  PMID: 23121717
22q11.2 deletion syndrome; Cleft palate; Candidate gene
12.  Analysis and visualization of chromosomal abnormalities in SNP data with SNPscan 
BMC Bioinformatics  2006;7:25.
A variety of diseases are caused by chromosomal abnormalities such as aneuploidies (having an abnormal number of chromosomes), microdeletions, microduplications, and uniparental disomy. High density single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) microarrays provide information on chromosomal copy number changes, as well as genotype (heterozygosity and homozygosity). SNP array studies generate multiple types of data for each SNP site, some with more than 100,000 SNPs represented on each array. The identification of different classes of anomalies within SNP data has been challenging.
We have developed SNPscan, a web-accessible tool to analyze and visualize high density SNP data. It enables researchers (1) to visually and quantitatively assess the quality of user-generated SNP data relative to a benchmark data set derived from a control population, (2) to display SNP intensity and allelic call data in order to detect chromosomal copy number anomalies (duplications and deletions), (3) to display uniparental isodisomy based on loss of heterozygosity (LOH) across genomic regions, (4) to compare paired samples (e.g. tumor and normal), and (5) to generate a file type for viewing SNP data in the University of California, Santa Cruz (UCSC) Human Genome Browser. SNPscan accepts data exported from Affymetrix Copy Number Analysis Tool as its input. We validated SNPscan using data generated from patients with known deletions, duplications, and uniparental disomy. We also inspected previously generated SNP data from 90 apparently normal individuals from the Centre d'Étude du Polymorphisme Humain (CEPH) collection, and identified three cases of uniparental isodisomy, four females having an apparently mosaic X chromosome, two mislabelled SNP data sets, and one microdeletion on chromosome 2 with mosaicism from an apparently normal female. These previously unrecognized abnormalities were all detected using SNPscan. The microdeletion was independently confirmed by fluorescence in situ hybridization, and a region of homozygosity in a UPD case was confirmed by sequencing of genomic DNA.
SNPscan is useful to identify chromosomal abnormalities based on SNP intensity (such as chromosomal copy number changes) and heterozygosity data (including regions of LOH and some cases of UPD). The program and source code are available at the SNPscan website .
PMCID: PMC1382255  PMID: 16420694
13.  Modeling genetic inheritance of copy number variations 
Nucleic Acids Research  2008;36(21):e138.
Copy number variations (CNVs) are being used as genetic markers or functional candidates in gene-mapping studies. However, unlike single nucleotide polymorphism or microsatellite genotyping techniques, most CNV detection methods are limited to detecting total copy numbers, rather than copy number in each of the two homologous chromosomes. To address this issue, we developed a statistical framework for intensity-based CNV detection platforms using family data. Our algorithm identifies CNVs for a family simultaneously, thus avoiding the generation of calls with Mendelian inconsistency while maintaining the ability to detect de novo CNVs. Applications to simulated data and real data indicate that our method significantly improves both call rates and accuracy of boundary inference, compared to existing approaches. We further illustrate the use of Mendelian inheritance to infer SNP allele compositions in each of the two homologous chromosomes in CNV regions using real data. Finally, we applied our method to a set of families genotyped using both the Illumina HumanHap550 and Affymetrix genome-wide 5.0 arrays to demonstrate its performance on both inherited and de novo CNVs. In conclusion, our method produces accurate CNV calls, gives probabilistic estimates of CNV transmission and builds a solid foundation for the development of linkage and association tests utilizing CNVs.
PMCID: PMC2588508  PMID: 18832372
14.  Paternally inherited microdeletion at 15q11.2 confirms a significant role for the SNORD116 C/D box snoRNA cluster in Prader–Willi syndrome 
European Journal of Human Genetics  2010;18(11):1196-1201.
Prader–Willi syndrome (PWS) is a neurobehavioral disorder manifested by infantile hypotonia and feeding difficulties in infancy, followed by morbid obesity secondary to hyperphagia. It is caused by deficiency of paternally expressed transcript(s) within the human chromosome region 15q11.2. PWS patients harboring balanced chromosomal translocations with breakpoints within small nuclear ribonucleoprotein polypeptide N (SNRPN) have provided indirect evidence for a role for the imprinted C/D box containing small nucleolar RNA (snoRNA) genes encoded downstream of SNRPN. In addition, recently published data provide strong evidence in support of a role for the snoRNA SNORD116 cluster (HBII-85) in PWS etiology. In this study, we performed detailed phenotypic, cytogenetic, and molecular analyses including chromosome analysis, array comparative genomic hybridization (array CGH), expression studies, and single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) genotyping for parent-of-origin determination of the 15q11.2 microdeletion on an 11-year-old child expressing the major components of the PWS phenotype. This child had an ∼236.29 kb microdeletion at 15q11.2 within the larger Prader–Willi/Angelman syndrome critical region that included the SNORD116 cluster of snoRNAs. Analysis of SNP genotypes in proband and mother provided evidence in support of the deletion being on the paternal chromosome 15. This child also met most of the major PWS diagnostic criteria including infantile hypotonia, early-onset morbid obesity, and hypogonadism. Identification and characterization of this case provide unequivocal evidence for a critical role for the SNORD116 snoRNA molecules in PWS pathogenesis. Array CGH testing for genomic copy-number changes in cases with complex phenotypes is proving to be invaluable in detecting novel alterations and enabling better genotype–phenotype correlations.
PMCID: PMC2987474  PMID: 20588305
Prader–Willi syndrome; snoRNA; microdeletion; array CGH
15.  Mapping the deletion endpoints in individuals with 22q11.2 Deletion Syndrome by droplet digital PCR 
BMC Medical Genetics  2014;15(1):106.
Chromosome 22q11.2 deletion syndrome (22q11DS) is the most common human microdeletion syndrome and is associated with many cognitive, neurological and psychiatric disorders. The majority of individuals have a 3 Mb deletion while others have a nested 1.5 Mb deletion, but rare atypical deletions have also been described. To date, a study using droplet digital PCR (ddPCR) has not been conducted to systematically map the chromosomal breakpoints in individuals with 22q11DS, which would provide important genotypic insight into the various phenotypes observed in this syndrome.
This study uses ddPCR to assess copy number (CN) changes within the chromosome 22q11 deletion region and allows the mapping of the deletion endpoints. We used eight TaqMan assays interspersed throughout the deleted region of 22q11.2 to characterize the deleted region of chromosome 22 in 80 individuals known to have 22q11DS by FISH. Ten EvaGreen assays were used for finer mapping of the six identified individuals with 22q11DS atypical deletions and covering different regions of chromosome 22.
ddPCR provided non-ambiguous CN measurements across the region, confirmed the presence of the deletion in the individuals screened, and led to the identification of five differently sized and located deletions. The majority of the participants (n = 74) had the large 3 Mb deletions, whereas three had the smaller 1.5 Mb deletions, and the remaining three had an interstitial deletion of different size.
The lower cost, rapid execution and high reliability and specificity provided by ddPCR for CN measurements in the 22q11 region constitutes a significant improvement over the variable CN values generated by other technologies. The ability of the ddPCR approach, to provide a high resolution mapping of deletion endpoints may result in the identification of genes that are haplo-insufficient and play a role in the pathogenesis of 22q11DS. Finally, this methodology can be applied to the characterization of other microdeletions throughout the genome.
PMCID: PMC4258952  PMID: 25312060
Droplet digital PCR; 22q11DS; qPCR; copy number; LCR
16.  Genomic analysis using high density SNP based oligonucleotide arrays and MLPA provides a comprehensive analysis of INI1/SMARCB1 in malignant rhabdoid tumors 
Translational Relevance
Previous reports suggested that abnormalities of INI1 could be detected in 70–75% of malignant rhabdoid tumors. The mechanism of inactivation in the other 25% remained unclear. The goal of this study was to perform a high-resolution genomic analysis of a large series of rhabdoid tumors with the expectation of identifying additional loci related to the initiation or progression of these malignancies. We also developed a comprehensive set of assays, including a new MLPA assay, to interrogate the INI1 locus in 22q11.2. Intragenic deletions could be detected using the Illumina 550K Beadchip, whereas single exon deletions could be detected using MLPA. The current study demonstrates that with a multi-platform approach, alterations at the INI1 locus can be detected in almost all cases. Thus, appropriate molecular genetic testing can be used as an aid in the diagnosis and for treatment planning for most patients.
A high-resolution genomic profiling and comprehensive targeted analysis of INI1/SMARCB1 of a large series of pediatric rhabdoid tumors was performed. The aim was to identify regions of copy number change and loss of heterozygosity that might pinpoint additional loci involved in the development or progression of rhabdoid tumors, and define the spectrum of genomic alterations of INI1 in this malignancy.
Experimental Design
A multi-platform approach, utilizing Illumina single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) based oligonucleotide arrays, multiplex ligation dependent probe amplification (MLPA), fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH), and coding sequence analysis was used to characterize genome wide copy number changes, loss of heterozygosity, and genomic alterations of INI1/SMARCB1 in a series of pediatric rhabdoid tumors.
The bi-allelic alterations of INI1 that led to inactivation were elucidated in 50 of 51 tumors. INI1 inactivation was demonstrated by a variety of mechanisms, including deletions, mutations, and loss of heterozygosity. The results from the array studies highlighted the complexity of rearrangements of chromosome 22, compared to the low frequency of alterations involving the other chromosomes.
The results from the genome wide SNP-array analysis suggest that INI1 is the primary tumor suppressor gene involved in the development of rhabdoid tumors with no second locus identified. In addition, we did not identify hot spots for the breakpoints in sporadic tumors with deletions of chromosome 22q11.2. By employing a multimodality approach, the wide spectrum of alterations of INI1 can be identified in the majority of patients, which increases the clinical utility of molecular diagnostic testing.
PMCID: PMC2668138  PMID: 19276269
INI1/SMARCB1; rhabdoid tumor; 22q11.2; SNP array; MLPA
17.  Clinical and molecular characterisation of 80 patients with 5p deletion: genotype-phenotype correlation 
Journal of Medical Genetics  2001;38(3):151-158.
The majority of deletions of the short arm of chromosome 5 are associated with cri du chat syndrome (CdCS) and patients show phenotypic and cytogenetic variability. To perform a genotype-phenotype correlation, 80 patients from the Italian CdCS Register were analysed. Molecular cytogenetic analysis showed that 62 patients (77.50%) had a 5p terminal deletion characterised by breakpoint intervals ranging from p13 (D5S763) to p15.2 (D5S18). Seven patients (8.75%) had a 5p interstitial deletion, four (5%) a de novo translocation, and three (3.75%) a familial translocation. Of the remaining four patients, three (3.75%) had de novo 5p anomalies involving two rearranged cell lines and one (1.25%) had a 5p deletion originating from a paternal inversion. The origin of the deleted chromosome 5 was paternal in 55 out of 61 patients (90.2%). Genotype-phenotype correlation in 62 patients with terminal deletions highlighted a progressive severity of clinical manifestation and psychomotor retardation related to the size of the deletion. The analysis of seven patients with interstitial deletions and one with a small terminal deletion confirmed the existence of two critical regions, one for dysmorphism and mental retardation in p15.2 and the other for the cat cry in p15.3. Results from one patient permitted the cat cry region to be distally narrowed from D5S13 to D5S731. Furthermore, this study lends support to the hypothesis of a separate region in p15.3 for the speech delay.

Keywords: cri du chat syndrome; 5p deletion; phenotype-genotype correlation; FISH
PMCID: PMC1734829  PMID: 11238681
18.  Whole-genome DNA/RNA sequencing identifies truncating mutations in RBCK1 in a novel Mendelian disease with neuromuscular and cardiac involvement 
Genome Medicine  2013;5(7):67.
Whole-exome sequencing has identified the causes of several Mendelian diseases by analyzing multiple unrelated cases, but it is more challenging to resolve the cause of extremely rare and suspected Mendelian diseases from individual families. We identified a family quartet with two children, both affected with a previously unreported disease, characterized by progressive muscular weakness and cardiomyopathy, with normal intelligence. During the course of the study, we identified one additional unrelated patient with a comparable phenotype.
We performed whole-genome sequencing (Complete Genomics platform), whole-exome sequencing (Agilent SureSelect exon capture and Illumina Genome Analyzer II platform), SNP genotyping (Illumina HumanHap550 SNP array) and Sanger sequencing on blood samples, as well as RNA-Seq (Illumina HiSeq platform) on transformed lymphoblastoid cell lines.
From whole-genome sequence data, we identified RBCK1, a gene encoding an E3 ubiquitin-protein ligase, as the most likely candidate gene, with two protein-truncating mutations in probands in the first family. However, exome data failed to nominate RBCK1 as a candidate gene, due to poor regional coverage. Sanger sequencing identified a private homozygous splice variant in RBCK1 in the proband in the second family, yet SNP genotyping revealed a 1.2Mb copy-neutral region of homozygosity covering RBCK1. RNA-Seq confirmed aberrant splicing of RBCK1 transcripts, resulting in truncated protein products.
While the exact mechanism by which these mutations cause disease is unknown, our study represents an example of how the combined use of whole-genome DNA and RNA sequencing can identify a disease-predisposing gene for a novel and extremely rare Mendelian disease.
PMCID: PMC3971341  PMID: 23889995
19.  Recurrent reciprocal deletions and duplications of 16p13.11: the deletion is a risk factor for MR/MCA while the duplication may be a rare benign variant 
Journal of Medical Genetics  2008;46(4):223-232.
Genomic disorders are often caused by non-allelic homologous recombination between segmental duplications. Chromosome 16 is especially rich in a chromosome-specific low copy repeat, termed LCR16.
Methods and Results:
A bacterial artificial chromosome (BAC) array comparative genome hybridisation (CGH) screen of 1027 patients with mental retardation and/or multiple congenital anomalies (MR/MCA) was performed. The BAC array CGH screen identified five patients with deletions and five with apparently reciprocal duplications of 16p13 covering 1.65 Mb, including 15 RefSeq genes. In addition, three atypical rearrangements overlapping or flanking this region were found. Fine mapping by high-resolution oligonucleotide arrays suggests that these deletions and duplications result from non-allelic homologous recombination (NAHR) between distinct LCR16 subunits with >99% sequence identity. Deletions and duplications were either de novo or inherited from unaffected parents. To determine whether these imbalances are associated with the MR/MCA phenotype or whether they might be benign variants, a population of 2014 normal controls was screened. The absence of deletions in the control population showed that 16p13.11 deletions are significantly associated with MR/MCA (p = 0.0048). Despite phenotypic variability, common features were identified: three patients with deletions presented with MR, microcephaly and epilepsy (two of these had also short stature), and two other deletion carriers ascertained prenatally presented with cleft lip and midline defects. In contrast to its previous association with autism, the duplication seems to be a common variant in the population (5/1682, 0.29%).
These findings indicate that deletions inherited from clinically normal parents are likely to be causal for the patients’ phenotype whereas the role of duplications (de novo or inherited) in the phenotype remains uncertain. This difference in knowledge regarding the clinical relevance of the deletion and the duplication causes a paradigm shift in (cyto)genetic counselling.
PMCID: PMC2658752  PMID: 18550696
20.  Dandy-Walker malformation and Wisconsin syndrome: novel cases add further insight into the genotype-phenotype correlations of 3q23q25 deletions 
The Dandy-Walker malformation (DWM) is one of the commonest congenital cerebellar defects, and can be associated with multiple congenital anomalies and chromosomal syndromes. The occurrence of overlapping 3q deletions including the ZIC1 and ZIC4 genes in few patients, along with data from mouse models, have implicated both genes in the pathogenesis of DWM.
Methods and results
Using a SNP-array approach, we recently identified three novel patients carrying heterozygous 3q deletions encompassing ZIC1 and ZIC4. Magnetic resonance imaging showed that only two had a typical DWM, while the third did not present any defect of the DWM spectrum. SNP-array analysis in further eleven children diagnosed with DWM failed to identify deletions of ZIC1-ZIC4. The clinical phenotype of the three 3q deleted patients included multiple congenital anomalies and peculiar facial appearance, related to the localization and extension of each deletion. In particular, phenotypes resulted from the variable combination of three recognizable patterns: DWM (with incomplete penetrance); blepharophimosis, ptosis, and epicanthus inversus syndrome; and Wisconsin syndrome (WS), recently mapped to 3q.
Our data indicate that the 3q deletion is a rare defect associated with DWM, and suggest that the hemizygosity of ZIC1-ZIC4 genes is neither necessary nor sufficient per se to cause this condition. Furthermore, based on a detailed comparison of clinical features and molecular data from 3q deleted patients, we propose clinical diagnostic criteria and refine the critical region for WS.
PMCID: PMC3667004  PMID: 23679990
Dandy-Walker malformation; Wisconsin syndrome; 3q deletion; ZIC1-ZIC4 genes
21.  A rare 3q13.31 microdeletion including GAP43 and LSAMP genes 
Interstitial deletions affecting the proximal long arm of chromosome 3 have been rarely reported in the literature. The deleted segments vary in localization and size with different breakpoints making genotype-phenotype correlation very difficult. Until now, a girl with a 1.9-Mb interstitial deletion of 3q13.2q13.31 and 14 novel patients with deletions in 3q11q23 have been reported.
Here we report on a 7-year-old girl with neuropsychiatric disorders and renal, vascular and skeletal anomalies. Array-CGH analysis revealed a small rare inherited 3q13.31 deletion containing only two genes, GAP43 and LSAMP. The mutation analysis of the two genes was negative on the other non-deleted chromosome. GAP43 is considered a crucial component for an effective regenerative response in the nervous system and its mRNA is localized exclusively to nerve tissue where the protein is linked to the synaptosomal membrane. LSAMP is a 64- to 68-kD neuronal surface glycoprotein found in cortical and subcortical regions of the limbic system that acts as an adhesion molecule and guides the development of specific patterns of neuronal connection. The deleted region is adjacent to a “desert gene” region extending 2.099 Mb.
We discuss the effects of GAP43 and LSAMP haploinsufficiency, proposing that their deletion may be responsible for the main phenotype. Further cases with similar microdeletion are expected to be diagnosed and will help to better characterize the clinical spectrum of phenotypes associated with 3q13.31 microdeletion.
PMCID: PMC3906914  PMID: 24279697
3q31.31microdeletion; GAP43 gene; LSAMP gene; Genotype-phenotype correlation
22.  Clinical and Genomic Characterization of Distal Duplications and Deletions of Chromosome 4q: Study of Two Cases and Review of the Literature 
Variable clinical presentations of patients with chromosomally detected deletions in the distal long arm (q) of chromosome 4 have been reported. The lack of molecular characterization of the deletion sizes and deleted genes hinders further genotype-phenotype correlation. Using a validated oligonucleotide array comparative genomic hybridization (oaCGH) analysis, we examined two patient with apparent chromosomal deletions in the distal 4q region. In the first, oaCGH identified a 2.441 megabase (Mb) duplication and a 12.651 Mb deletion at 4q34.1 in a pregnant female who transmitted this aberration to her son. This mother has only learning disabilities while her son had both renal and cardiac anomalies in the newborn period. Unrecognized paternal genetic factors may contribute to the variable expression. The second patient is a 17-year-old female with a history of Pierre Robin sequence, cardiac abnormalities and learning disabilities. She was diagnosed prenatally with a de novo 4q deletion, and oaCGH defined a 16.435 Mb deletion of 4q34.1 to 4q35.2. Phenotypic comparison and subtractive genomic mapping between these two cases suggested a 4 Mb region possibly harboring a candidate gene for Pierre Robin sequence. Our cases and review of reported cases with genomic findings indicated the presence of familial variants with variable expressivity as well as de novo or inherited pathogenic simple deletion, duplication and complex deletion and duplication in the distal 4q region.
PMCID: PMC2788106  PMID: 19921640
array comparative genomic hybridization; 4q distal duplications and deletions; Pierre Robin Sequence
23.  Whole-genome detection of disease-associated deletions or excess homozygosity in a case–control study of rheumatoid arthritis 
Human Molecular Genetics  2012;22(6):1249-1261.
Unlike genome-wide association studies, few comprehensive studies of copy number variation's contribution to complex human disease susceptibility have been performed. Copy number variations are abundant in humans and represent one of the least well-studied classes of genetic variants; in addition, known rheumatoid arthritis susceptibility loci explain only a portion of familial clustering. Therefore, we performed a genome-wide study of association between deletion or excess homozygosity and rheumatoid arthritis using high-density 550 K SNP genotype data from a genome-wide association study. We used a genome-wide statistical method that we recently developed to test each contiguous SNP locus between 868 cases and 1194 controls to detect excess homozygosity or deletion variants that influence susceptibility. Our method is designed to detect statistically significant evidence of deletions or homozygosity at individual SNPs for SNP-by-SNP analyses and to combine the information among neighboring SNPs for cluster analyses. In addition to successfully detecting the known deletion variants on major histocompatibility complex, we identified 4.3 and 28 kb clusters on chromosomes 10p and 13q, respectively, which were significant at a Bonferroni-type-corrected 0.05 nominal significant level. Independently, we performed analyses using PennCNV, an algorithm for identifying and cataloging copy numbers for individuals based on a hidden Markov model, and identified cases and controls that had chromosomal segments with copy number <2. Using Fisher's exact test for comparing the numbers of cases and controls with copy number <2 per SNP, we identified 26 significant SNPs (protective; more controls than cases) aggregating on chromosome 14 with P-values <10−8.
PMCID: PMC3578409  PMID: 23223014
24.  Detailed Analysis of 22q11.2 With a High Density MLPA Probe Set 
Human mutation  2008;29(3):433-440.
The presence of chromosome-specific low-copy repeats (LCRs) predisposes chromosome 22 to deletions and duplications. The current diagnostic procedure for detecting aberrations at 22q11.2 is chromosomal analysis coupled with fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) or PCR-based multiplex ligation dependent probe amplification (MLPA). However, there are copy number variations (CNVs) in 22q11.2 that are only detected by high-resolution platforms such as array comparative genomic hybridization (aCGH). We report on development of a high-definition MLPA (MLPA-HD) 22q11 kit that detects copy number changes at 37 loci on the long arm of chromosome 22. These include the 3-Mb region commonly deleted in DiGeorge/velocardiofacial syndrome (DGS/VCFS), the cat eye syndrome (CES) region, and more distal regions in 22q11 that have recently been shown to be deleted. We have used this MLPA-HD probe set to analyze 363 previously well-characterized samples with a variety of different rearrangements at 22q11 and demonstrate that it can detect copy number alterations with high sensitivity and specificity. In addition to detection of the common recurrent deletions associated with DGS/VCFS, variant and novel chromosome 22 aberrations have been detected. These include duplications within as well as deletions distal to this region. Further, the MLPA-HD detects deletion endpoint differences between patients with the common 3-Mb deletion. The MLPA-HD kit is proposed as a cost effective alternative to the currently available detection methods for individuals with features of the 22q11 aberrations. In patients with the relevant phenotypic characteristics, this MLPA-HD probe set could replace FISH for the clinical diagnosis of 22q11.2 deletions and duplications.
PMCID: PMC2664158  PMID: 18033723
DiGeorge syndrome; velocardiofacial syndrome; cat eye syndrome; DGS; VFCS; CES; MLPA-HD; 22q11
25.  Genomic Alterations in Biliary Atresia Suggests Region of Potential Disease Susceptibility in 2q37.3 
Biliary atresia (BA) is a progressive, idiopathic obliteration of the extrahepatic biliary system occurring exclusively in the neonatal period. It is the most common disease leading to liver transplantation in children. The etiology of BA is unknown, although infectious, immune and genetic causes have been suggested. While the recurrence of BA in families is not common, there are more than 30 multiplex families reported and an underlying genetic susceptibility has been hypothesized. We screened a cohort of 35 BA patients for genomic alterations that might confer susceptibility to BA. DNA was genotyped on the Illumina Quad550 platform, which analyzes over 550,000 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) for genomic deletions and duplications. Areas of increased and decreased copy number were compared to those found in control populations. In order to identify regions that could serve as susceptibility factors for BA, we searched for regions that were found in BA patients, but not in controls. We identified two unrelated BA patients with overlapping heterozygous deletions of 2q37.3. Patient 1 had a 1.76 Mb (280 SNP), heterozygous deletion containing thirty genes. Patient 2 had a 5.87 Mb (1,346 SNP) heterozygous deletion containing fifty-five genes. The overlapping 1.76 Mb deletion on chromosome 2q37.3 from 240,936,900 to 242,692,820 constitutes the critical region and the genes within this region could be candidates for susceptibility to BA.
PMCID: PMC2914625  PMID: 20358598
Biliary atresia; copy number variation; deletion 2q37.3

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