Clinical genetics

What can we learn from old microdeletion syndromes using array-CGH screening?

PMID 21722100


Most microdeletion syndromes identified before the implementation of array-comparative genomic hybridization (array-CGH) were presumed to be well-defined clinical entities. However, the introduction of whole-genome screening led not only to the description of new syndromes but also to the recognition of a broader spectrum of features for well-known syndromes. Here, we report on 10 patients presenting with mental retardation associated with atypical features not suggestive of a known microdeletion and a normal standard karyotype. Array-CGH analyses revealed five microdeletions in the DiGeorge region, three microdeletions in the Williams-Beuren region and two microdeletions in the Smith-Magenis region. Reevaluation in these patients confirmed that the diagnosis remained difficult on clinical grounds and emphasized that well-known genomic disorders can have a phenotype that is heterogeneous and more variable than originally thought. The widespread use of array-CGH shows that such patients may be more readily achieved on the basis of genotype rather than phenotype.