Molecular mechanisms for genomic disorders

Annu Rev Genomics Hum Genet. 2002;3:199-242. doi: 10.1146/annurev.genom.3.032802.120023. Epub 2002 Apr 15.


Genomic rearrangements play a major role in the pathogenesis of human genetic diseases. Nonallelic homologous recombination (NAHR) between low-copy repeats (LCRs) that flank unique genomic segments results in changes of genome organization and can cause a loss or gain of genomic segments. These LCRs appear to have arisen recently during primate speciation via paralogous segmental duplication, thus making the human species particularly susceptible to genomic rearrangements. Genomic disorders are defined as a group of diseases that result from genomic rearrangements, mostly mediated by NAHR. Molecular investigations of genomic disorders have revealed genome architectural features associated with susceptibility to rearrangements and the recombination mechanisms responsible for such rearrangements. The human genome sequence project reveals that LCRs may account for 5% of the genome, suggesting that many novel genomic disorders might still remain to be recognized.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Gene Deletion
  • Gene Dosage
  • Genetic Diseases, Inborn / genetics*
  • Genome*
  • Humans
  • Models, Genetic
  • Polymorphism, Genetic
  • Recombination, Genetic