Cornelia de Lange syndrome (CdLS; or Brachmann-de Lange syndrome) is a dominantly inherited congenital malformation disorder with features that include characteristic facies, cognitive delays, growth retardation and limb anomalies. Mutations in nearly 60% of CdLS patients have been identified in NIPBL, which encodes a regulator of the sister chromatid cohesion complex. NIPBL, also known as delangin, is a homolog of yeast and amphibian Scc2 and C. elegans PQN-85. Although the exact mechanism of NIPBL function in sister chromatid cohesion is unclear, in vivo yeast and C. elegans experiments and in vitro vertebrate cell experiments have demonstrated that NIPBL/Scc2 functionally interacts with the MAU2/Scc4 protein to initiate loading of cohesin onto chromatin. To test the significance of this model in the clinical setting of CdLS, we fine-mapped the NIBPL–MAU2 interaction domain and tested the functional significance of missense mutations and variants in NIPBL and MAU2 identified in these minimal domains in a cohort of patients with CdLS. We demonstrate that specific novel mutations at the N-terminus of the MAU2-interacting domain of NIBPL result in markedly reduced MAU2 binding, although we appreciate no consistent clinical difference in the small group of patients with these mutations. These data suggest that factors in addition to MAU2 are essential in determining the clinical features and severity of CdLS.
Cornelia de Lange syndrome; cohesin; NIPBL; MAU2; SCC4; sister chromatid cohesion
Many pathogenic structural variants of the human genome are known to cause facial dysmorphism. During the past decade, pathogenic structural variants have also been found to be an important class of genetic risk factor for epilepsy. In other fields, face shape has been assessed objectively using 3D stereophotogrammetry and dense surface models. We hypothesized that computer-based analysis of 3D face images would detect subtle facial abnormality in people with epilepsy who carry pathogenic structural variants as determined by chromosome microarray. In 118 children and adults attending three European epilepsy clinics, we used an objective measure called Face Shape Difference to show that those with pathogenic structural variants have a significantly more atypical face shape than those without such variants. This is true when analysing the whole face, or the periorbital region or the perinasal region alone. We then tested the predictive accuracy of our measure in a second group of 63 patients. Using a minimum threshold to detect face shape abnormalities with pathogenic structural variants, we found high sensitivity (4/5, 80% for whole face; 3/5, 60% for periorbital and perinasal regions) and specificity (45/58, 78% for whole face and perinasal regions; 40/58, 69% for periorbital region). We show that the results do not seem to be affected by facial injury, facial expression, intellectual disability, drug history or demographic differences. Finally, we use bioinformatics tools to explore relationships between facial shape and gene expression within the developing forebrain. Stereophotogrammetry and dense surface models are powerful, objective, non-contact methods of detecting relevant face shape abnormalities. We demonstrate that they are useful in identifying atypical face shape in adults or children with structural variants, and they may give insights into the molecular genetics of facial development.
epilepsy; dysmorphism; structural variants; genomics; dense surface models
Body Integrity Identity Disorder (BIID) is a rare, infrequently studied and highly secretive condition in which there is a mismatch between the mental body image and the physical body. Subjects suffering from BIID have an intense desire to amputate a major limb or severe the spinal cord in order to become paralyzed. Aim of the study is to broaden the knowledge of BIID amongst medical professionals, by describing all who deal with BIID.
Somatic, psychiatric and BIID characteristic data were collected from 54 BIID individuals using a detailed questionnaire. Subsequently, data of different subtypes of BIID (i.e. wish for amputation or paralyzation) were evaluated. Finally, disruption in work, social and family life due to BIID in subjects with and without amputation were compared.
Based on the subjects' reports we found that BIID has an onset in early childhood. The main rationale given for their desire for body modification is to feel complete or to feel satisfied inside. Somatic and severe psychiatric co-morbidity is unusual, but depressive symptoms and mood disorders can be present, possibly secondary to the enormous distress BIID puts upon a person. Amputation and paralyzation variant do not differ in any clinical variable. Surgery is found helpful in all subjects who underwent amputation and those subjects score significantly lower on a disability scale than BIID subjects without body modification.
The amputation variant and paralyzation variant of BIID are to be considered as one of the same condition. Amputation of the healthy body part appears to result in remission of BIID and an impressive improvement of quality of life. Knowledge of and respect for the desires of BIID individuals are the first steps in providing care and may decrease the huge burden they experience.
Oral-Facial-Digital Syndrome type VI (OFD VI) represents a rare phenotypic subtype of Joubert syndrome and related disorders (JSRD). In the original report polydactyly, oral findings, intellectual disability, and absence of the cerebellar vermis at post-mortem characterized the syndrome. Subsequently, the molar tooth sign (MTS) has been found in patients with OFD VI, prompting the inclusion of OFD VI in JSRD. We studied the clinical, neurodevelopmental, neuroimaging, and genetic findings in a cohort of 16 patients with OFD VI. We derived the following inclusion criteria from the literature: 1) MTS and one oral finding and polydactyly, or 2) MTS and more than one typical oral finding. The OFD VI neuroimaging pattern was found to be more severe than in other JSRD subgroups and includes severe hypoplasia of the cerebellar vermis, hypoplastic and dysplastic cerebellar hemispheres, marked enlargement of the posterior fossa, increased retrocerebellar collection of cerebrospinal fluid, abnormal brainstem, and frequently supratentorial abnormalities that occasionally include characteristic hypothalamic hamartomas. Additionally, two new JSRD neuroimaging findings (ascending superior cerebellar peduncles and fused thalami) have been identified. Tongue hamartomas, additional frenula, upper lip notch, and mesoaxial polydactyly are specific findings in OFD VI, while cleft lip/palate and other types of polydactyly of hands and feet are not specific. Involvement of other organs may include ocular findings, particularly colobomas. The majority of the patients have absent motor development and profound cognitive impairment. In OFD VI, normal cognitive functions are possible, but exceptional. Sequencing of known JSRD genes in most patients failed to detect pathogenetic mutations, therefore the genetic basis of OFD VI remains unknown. Compared with other JSRD subgroups, the neurological findings and impairment of motor development and cognitive functions in OFD VI are significantly worse, suggesting a correlation with the more severe neuroimaging findings. Based on the literature and this study we suggest as diagnostic criteria for OFD VI: MTS and one or more of the following: 1) tongue hamartoma(s) and/or additional frenula and/or upper lip notch; 2) mesoaxial polydactyly of one or more hands or feet; 3) hypothalamic hamartoma.
Joubert syndrome and related disorders; Oral-facial-digital syndrome type VI; neuroimaging; molar tooth sign; cerebellar malformation
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.
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
Holoprosencephaly (HPE) is the most common malformation of the human forebrain, and may be due to cytogenetic anomalies, teratogens, occur in the context of a syndrome, or be due to mutations in single genes associated with non-syndromic HPE. Mutations in ZIC2, a transcription factor located on chromosome 13q32, are the second-most common cause of non-syndromic, non-chromosomal HPE. Blood samples from over 1000 individuals with HPE-spectrum disorders and their relatives were analyzed for sequence variations in ZIC2. We examined clinical details and included all other known previously published and unpublished cases of mutations in ZIC2 through a literature search and collaboration with other centers. We find mutations in ZIC2 in 8% of probands with HPE, and describe 153 individuals from 116 unrelated kindreds, including 137 patients with molecularly-determined mutations in ZIC2 and 16 patients with deletions of the ZIC2 locus. Unlike HPE due to mutations in other genes, the vast majority of cases are sporadic and the proportional distribution of HPE types differs significantly from previously published analyses of non-chromosomal non-syndromic HPE. Furthermore, we describe a novel facial phenotype in patients with mutations in ZIC2 which includes bitemporal narrowing, upsplanting palpebral fissures, a short nose with anteverted nares, and a broad and well-demarcated philtrum, and large ears. This phenotype is distinct from the standard facial dysmorphisms associated with non-chromosomal, non-syndromic HPE. Our findings show that HPE due to mutations in ZIC2 is distinct from that due to mutations in other genes. This may shed light on the mechanisms that contribute to the formation of the face and the forebrain and may help direct genetic counseling and diagnostic strategies.
Female; Genotype; Holoprosencephaly; classification; epidemiology; genetics; pathology; Humans; Inheritance Patterns; genetics; Magnetic Resonance Imaging; Male; Mutation; genetics; Nuclear Proteins; genetics; Phenotype; Prevalence; Transcription Factors; genetics
A range of phenotypes including Greig cephalopolysyndactyly and Pallister-Hall syndromes (GCPS, PHS) are caused by pathogenic mutation of the GLI3 gene. To characterize the clinical variability of GLI3 mutations, we present a subset of a cohort of 174 probands referred for GLI3 analysis. Eighty-one probands with typical GCPS or PHS were previously reported, and we report the remaining ninety-three probands here. This includes nineteen probands (twelve mutations) who fulfilled clinical criteria for GCPS or PHS, forty-eight probands (sixteen mutations) with features of GCPS or PHS but who did not meet the clinical criteria (sub-GCPS and sub-PHS), twenty-one probands (six mutations) with features of PHS or GCPS and oral-facial-digital syndrome and five probands (one mutation) with non-syndromic polydactyly. These data support previously identified genotype-phenotype correlations and demonstrate a more variable degree of severity than previously recognized. The finding of GLI3 mutations in patients with features of oral-facial-digital syndrome supports the observation that GLI3 interacts with cilia. We conclude that the phenotypic spectrum of GLI3 mutations is broader than that encompassed by the clinical diagnostic criteria, but the phenotype-genotype correlation persists. Individuals with features of either GCPS or PHS should be screened for mutations in GLI3 even if they do not fulfill clinical criteria.
GLI3; Greig syndrome; Pallister-Hall syndrome; Oral-facial-digital syndrome
3MC syndrome has been proposed as a unifying term to integrate the overlapping Carnevale, Mingarelli, Malpuech and Michels syndromes. These rare autosomal recessive disorders of unknown cause comprise a spectrum of developmental features including characteristic facial dysmorphism, cleft lip and/or palate, craniosynostosis, learning disability, and genital, limb and vesicorenal anomalies. In a cohort of eleven 3MC families, we identified two mutated genes COLEC11 and MASP1 both of which encode proteins within the lectin complement pathway (CL-K1 and MASP-1 & −3 respectively). CL-K1 is highly expressed in embryonic murine craniofacial cartilage, heart, bronchi, kidney, and vertebral bodies. Zebrafish morphants develop pigment defects and severe craniofacial abnormalities.
Here, we show that CL-K1 serves as a key guidance cue for neural crest cell migration thus demonstrating for the first time, a role for complement pathway factors in fundamental developmental processes and the origin of 3MC syndrome.
Patients with epilepsy often suffer from other important conditions. The existence of such co-morbidities is frequently not recognized and their relationship with epilepsy usually remains unexplained.
We describe three patients with common, sporadic, non-syndromic epilepsies in whom large genomic microdeletions were found during a study of genetic susceptibility to epilepsy. We performed detailed gene-driven clinical investigations in each patient. Disruption of the function of genes in the deleted regions can explain co-morbidities in these patients.
Co-morbidities in patients with epilepsy can be part of a genomic abnormality even in the absence of (known) congenital malformations or intellectual disabilities. Gene-driven phenotype examination can also reveal clinically significant unsuspected condition.
Stickler syndrome is an autosomal dominant connective tissue disorder caused by mutations in different collagen genes. The aim of our study was to define more precisely the phenotype and genotype of Stickler syndrome type 1 by investigating a large series of patients with a heterozygous mutation in COL2A1. In 188 probands with the clinical diagnosis of Stickler syndrome, the COL2A1 gene was analyzed by either a mutation scanning technique or bidirectional fluorescent DNA sequencing. The effect of splice site alterations was investigated by analyzing mRNA. Multiplex ligation-dependent amplification analysis was used for the detection of intragenic deletions. We identified 77 different COL2A1 mutations in 100 affected individuals. Analysis of the splice site mutations showed unusual RNA isoforms, most of which contained a premature stop codon. Vitreous anomalies and retinal detachments were found more frequently in patients with a COL2A1 mutation compared with the mutation-negative group (P<0.01). Overall, 20 of 23 sporadic patients with a COL2A1 mutation had either a cleft palate or retinal detachment with vitreous anomalies. The presence of vitreous anomalies, retinal tears or detachments, cleft palate and a positive family history were shown to be good indicators for a COL2A1 defect. In conclusion, we confirm that Stickler syndrome type 1 is predominantly caused by loss-of-function mutations in the COL2A1 gene as >90% of the mutations were predicted to result in nonsense-mediated decay. On the basis of binary regression analysis, we developed a scoring system that may be useful when evaluating patients with Stickler syndrome.
COL2A1; Stickler syndrome; genotype–phenotype correlation; type II collagenopathies; splice site mutation
Ophthalmo-acromelic syndrome (OAS), also known as Waardenburg Anophthalmia syndrome, is defined by the combination of eye malformations, most commonly bilateral anophthalmia, with post-axial oligosyndactyly. Homozygosity mapping and subsequent targeted mutation analysis of a locus on 14q24.2 identified homozygous mutations in SMOC1 (SPARC-related modular calcium binding 1) in eight unrelated families. Four of these mutations are nonsense, two frame-shift, and two missense. The missense mutations are both in the second Thyroglobulin Type-1 (Tg1) domain of the protein. The orthologous gene in the mouse, Smoc1, shows site- and stage-specific expression during eye, limb, craniofacial, and somite development. We also report a targeted pre-conditional gene-trap mutation of Smoc1 (Smoc1tm1a) that reduces mRNA to ∼10% of wild-type levels. This gene-trap results in highly penetrant hindlimb post-axial oligosyndactyly in homozygous mutant animals (Smoc1tm1a/tm1a). Eye malformations, most commonly coloboma, and cleft palate occur in a significant proportion of Smoc1tm1a/tm1a embryos and pups. Thus partial loss of Smoc-1 results in a convincing phenocopy of the human disease. SMOC-1 is one of the two mammalian paralogs of Drosophila Pentagone, an inhibitor of decapentaplegic. The orthologous gene in Xenopus laevis, Smoc-1, also functions as a Bone Morphogenic Protein (BMP) antagonist in early embryogenesis. Loss of BMP antagonism during mammalian development provides a plausible explanation for both the limb and eye phenotype in humans and mice.
Ophthalmo-acromelic syndrome (OAS) is a rare congenital genetic disorder involving complete absence of the eyes and limb malformations, with missing or fused bones in the feet and hands. In this paper we report the identification of genetic changes to both copies of the SMOC1 gene as the cause of most cases of OAS. We have identified eight different mutations in this gene in unrelated individuals, and six of these mutations are predicted to completely abolish SMOC-1 function. We have also genetically disrupted the mouse Smoc1 gene to produce only 10% of normal levels. These animals, called Smoc1tm1a/tm1a mice, have similar hindlimb malformations to those seen in the limbs of human OAS patients, resulting in missing toes in some mice and fusion of toes in others. Smoc1tm1a/tm1a embryos and pups also have eye malformations but these are milder than those seen in human cases, perhaps because, unlike the human cases, the mice still have some residual function of the gene. We suggest that the normal function of SMOC-1 may be to regulate an important class of growth factors, called Bone Morphogenetic Proteins (BMPs), which are essential for normal embryonic development.
Idiopathic congenital talipes equinovarus (CTEV) is a common developmental
foot disorder, the aetiology of which remains largely unknown. Some aspects
of the epidemiology suggest the possibility of aetiologically distinct
subgroups. Previous studies consider CTEV as a homogenous entity which may
conceal risk factors in particular subgroups. We investigate evidence for
aetiologically distinct subgroups of CTEV.
Parents of 785 probands completed a postal questionnaire. Family pedigrees
were compiled by telephone. Case-only analysis was used to investigate
interactions between risk factors and sex of the proband, CTEV laterality
and CTEV family history.
The male∶female ratio was 2.3∶1, 58% of probands were
affected bilaterally and 11% had a first-second degree family
history. There were modest interactions between family history and twin
births (multivariate case - only odds ratio
[ORca] = 3.87, 95%CI 1.19–12.62)
and family history and maternal use of folic acid supplements in early
pregnancy (ORca = 0.62, 95%CI 0.38–1.01);
and between sex of the proband and maternal alcohol consumption during
pregnancy (female, positive history and alcohol consumed:
ORca = 0.33, 95%CI 0.12–0.89). Previous
reports of an interaction between maternal smoking and family history were
not confirmed. Relatives of female probands were affected more often than
relatives of male probands.
These results provide tentative evidence for aetiologically distinct CTEV
subgroups. They support the ‘Carter effect’, suggesting CTEV
develops though a multifactorial threshold model with females requiring a
higher risk factor ‘load’, and suggest areas where future
aetiological investigation might focus. Large multi-centre studies are
needed to further advance understanding of this common condition.
Mutations of LAMB2 typically cause autosomal recessive Pierson syndrome, a disorder characterized by congenital nephrotic syndrome, ocular and neurologic abnormalities, but may occasionally be associated with milder or oligosymptomatic disease variants. LAMB2 encodes the basement membrane protein laminin β2 which is incorporated in specific heterotrimeric laminin isoforms and has an expression pattern corresponding to the pattern of organ manifestations in Pierson syndrome. Herein we review all previously reported and several novel LAMB2 mutations in relation to the associated phenotype in patients from 39 unrelated families. The majority of disease-causing LAMB2 mutations are truncating, consistent with the hypothesis that loss of laminin β2 function is the molecular basis of Pierson syndrome. While truncating mutations are distributed across the entire gene, missense mutations are clearly clustered in the N-terminal LN domain, which is important for intermolecular interactions. There is an association of missense mutations and small in frame deletions with a higher mean age at onset of renal disease and with absence of neurologic abnormalities, thus suggesting that at least some of these may represent hypomorphic alleles. Nevertheless, genotype alone does not appear to explain the full range of clinical variability, and therefore hitherto unidentified modifiers are likely to exist.
LAMB2; Pierson syndrome; nephrotic syndrome; autosomal recessive; podocyte; laminin; ocular malformation
Ellis–van Creveld (EvC) syndrome is a congenital malformation syndrome with marked growth retardation. In this study, specific growth charts for EvC patients were derived to allow better follow-up of growth and earlier detection of growth patterns unusual for EvC. With the use of 235 observations of 101 EvC patients (49 males, 52 females), growth charts for males and females from 0 to 20 years of age were derived. Longitudinal and cross-sectional data were collected from an earlier review of growth data in EvC, a database of EvC patients, and from recent literature. To model the growth charts, the GAMLSS package for the R statistical program was used. Height of EvC patients was compared to healthy children using Dutch growth charts. Data are presented both on a scale for age and on a scale for the square root of age. Compared to healthy Dutch children, mean height standard deviation score values for male and female EvC patients were −3.1 and −3.0, respectively. The present growth charts should be useful in the follow-up of EvC patients. Most importantly, early detection of growth hormone deficiency, known to occur in EvC, will be facilitated.
Growth; Body height; Ellis–van Creveld syndrome; Growth charts
Dihydropyrimidine dehydrogenase (DPD) is the initial enzyme acting in the catabolism of the widely used antineoplastic agent 5-fluorouracil (5FU). DPD deficiency is known to cause a potentially lethal toxicity following administration of 5FU. Here, we report novel genetic mechanisms underlying DPD deficiency in patients presenting with grade III/IV 5FU-associated toxicity. In one patient a genomic DPYD deletion of exons 21–23 was observed. In five patients a deep intronic mutation c.1129–5923C>G was identified creating a cryptic splice donor site. As a consequence, a 44 bp fragment corresponding to nucleotides c.1129–5967 to c.1129–5924 of intron 10 was inserted in the mature DPD mRNA. The deleterious c.1129–5923C>G mutation proved to be in cis with three intronic polymorphisms (c.483 + 18G>A, c.959–51T>G, c.680 + 139G>A) and the synonymous mutation c.1236G>A of a previously identified haplotype. Retrospective analysis of 203 cancer patients showed that the c.1129–5923C>G mutation was significantly enriched in patients with severe 5FU-associated toxicity (9.1%) compared to patients without toxicity (2.2%). In addition, a high prevalence was observed for the c.1129–5923C>G mutation in the normal Dutch (2.6%) and German (3.3%) population. Our study demonstrates that a genomic deletion affecting DPYD and a deep intronic mutation affecting pre-mRNA splicing can cause severe 5FU-associated toxicity. We conclude that screening for DPD deficiency should include a search for genomic rearrangements and aberrant splicing.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s00439-010-0879-3) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
Renal tract malformations (RTMs) account for about 40% of children with end-stage renal failure. RTMs can be caused by mutations of genes normally active in the developing kidney and lower renal tract. Moreover, some RTMs occur in the context of multi-organ malformation syndromes. For these reasons, and because genetic testing is becoming more widely available, pediatric nephrologists should work closely with clinical geneticists to make genetic diagnoses in children with RTMs, followed by appropriate family counseling. Here we highlight families with renal cysts and diabetes, renal coloboma and Fraser syndromes, and a child with microdeletion of chromosome 19q who had a rare combination of malformations. Such diagnoses provide families with often long-sought answers to the question “why was our child born with kidney disease”. Precise genetic diagnoses will also help to define cohorts of children with RTMs for long-term clinical outcome studies.
Deletion; Gene; Mutation; Malformation; Renal tract
This study was designed to examine morphological features in a large group of children with autism spectrum disorder versus normal controls. Amongst 421 patients and 1,007 controls, 224 matched pairs were created. Prevalence rates and odds ratios were analyzed by conditional regression analysis, McNemar test or paired t-test matched pairs. Morphological abnormalities were significantly more prevalent in patients with autism than in the normal control group and 48 morphological features distinguished patients from controls. Our findings show that morphological features are associated with autism. Exploring potential underlying genetic mechanisms of this association might lead to a better understanding of autism.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s10803-010-1018-7) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
Minor anomalies; Common variants; Dysmorphology; Heterogeneity; Etiology; Biological marker
Rubinstein–Taybi syndrome (RSTS) is a congenital disorder characterised by growth retardation, facial dysmorphisms, skeletal abnormalities and mental retardation. Broad thumbs and halluces are the hallmarks of the syndrome. RSTS is associated with chromosomal rearrangements and mutations in the CREB‐binding protein gene (CREBBP), also termed CBP, encoding the CREB‐binding protein. Recently, it was shown that mutations in EP300, coding for the p300 protein, also cause RSTS. CBP and EP300 are highly homologous genes, which play important roles as global transcriptional coactivators.
To report the phenotype of the presently known patients with RSTS (n = 4) carrying germline mutations of EP300.
The patients with EP300 mutations displayed the typical facial gestalt and malformation pattern compatible with the diagnosis of RSTS. However, three patients exhibited much milder skeletal findings on the hands and feet than typically observed in patients with RSTS.
Part of the clinical variability in RSTS is explained by genetic heterogeneity. The diagnosis of RSTS must be expanded to include patients without broad thumbs or halluces.
An international group of clinicians working in the field of dysmorphology has initiated the standardization of terms used to describe human morphology. The goals are to standardize these terms and reach consensus regarding their definitions. In this way, we will increase the utility of descriptions of the human phenotype and facilitate reliable comparisons of findings among patients. Discussions with other workers in dysmorphology and related fields, such as developmental biology and molecular genetics, will become more precise. Here we describe the general background of the project and the various issues we have tried to take into account in defining the terms.
nomenclature; definitions; morphology; dysmorphology; birth defects; malformations; minor anomalies; common variants
Duplications and deletions in the human genome can cause disease or predispose persons to disease. Advances in technologies to detect these changes allow for the routine identification of submicroscopic imbalances in large numbers of patients.
We tested for the presence of microdeletions and microduplications at a specific region of chromosome 1q21.1 in two groups of patients with unexplained mental retardation, autism, or congenital anomalies and in unaffected persons.
We identified 25 persons with a recurrent 1.35-Mb deletion within 1q21.1 from screening 5218 patients. The microdeletions had arisen de novo in eight patients, were inherited from a mildly affected parent in three patients, were inherited from an apparently unaffected parent in six patients, and were of unknown inheritance in eight patients. The deletion was absent in a series of 4737 control persons (P = 1.1×10−7). We found considerable variability in the level of phenotypic expression of the microdeletion; phenotypes included mild-to-moderate mental retardation, microcephaly, cardiac abnormalities, and cataracts. The reciprocal duplication was enriched in the nine children with mental retardation or autism spectrum disorder and other variable features (P = 0.02). We identified three deletions and three duplications of the 1q21.1 region in an independent sample of 788 patients with mental retardation and congenital anomalies.
We have identified recurrent molecular lesions that elude syndromic classification and whose disease manifestations must be considered in a broader context of development as opposed to being assigned to a specific disease. Clinical diagnosis in patients with these lesions may be most readily achieved on the basis of genotype rather than phenotype.