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Abnormalities in DNA copy number are frequently found in patients with multiple anomaly syndromes and mental retardation. Array-based comparative genomic hybridization (array-CGH) is a high-resolution, whole-genome technology that improves detection of submicroscopic aberrations underlying these syndromes. Eight patients with mental disability, multiple congenital anomalies, and dysmorphic features were screened for submicroscopic chromosomal imbalances using the GenoSensor Array 300 Chip. Subtelomeric aberrations previously detected by fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) analysis were confirmed in two patients, and accurate diagnosis was provided in two previously undiagnosed complex cases. Microdeletions at 15q11.2-q13 in a newborn with hypotonia, cryptorchidism, and hypopigmentation were detected with few discrepancies between the array results and FISH analysis. Contiguous microdeletion of GSCL, HIRA and TBX1 genes at 22q11.2 was identified in a previously undiagnosed boy with an unusual presentation of the VCF/DiGeorge spectrum. In a newborn with aniridia, a borderline false-negative WT1 deletion was observed, most probably because of differences between the size of the genomic deletion and the microarray probe. A false-positive rate of 0.2% was calculated for clone-by-clone analysis, whereas the per patient false-positive rate was 20%. Array-CGH is a powerful tool for the rapid and accurate detection of genetic disorders associated with copy number abnormalities and can significantly improve clinical genetic diagnosis and care.

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