Purpose: We developed a microarray for clinical diagnosis of chromosomal disorders using large insert genomic DNA clones as targets for comparative genomic hybridization (CGH).
Methods: The array contains 362 FISH-verified clones that span genomic regions implicated in over 40 known human genomic disorders and representative subtelomeric clones for each of the 41 clinically relevant human chromosome telomeres. Three or four clones from almost all deletion or duplication genomic regions and three or more clones for each subtelomeric region were included. We tested chromosome microarray analysis (CMA) in a masked fashion by examining genomic DNA from 25 patients who were previously ascertained in a genetic clinic and studied by conventional cytogenetics. A novel software package implemented in the R statistical programming language was developed for normalization, visualization, and inference.
Results: The CMA results were entirely consistent with previous cytogenetic and FISH findings. For clone by clone analysis, the sensitivity was estimated to be 96.7% and the specificity was 99.1%. Major advantages of this selected human genome array include the following: interrogation of clinically relevant genomic regions, the ability to test for a wide range of duplication and deletion syndromes in a single analysis, the ability to detect duplications that would likely be undetected by metaphase FISH, and ease of confirmation of suspected genomic changes by conventional FISH testing currently available in the cytogenetics laboratory.
Conclusion: The array is an attractive alternative to telomere FISH and locus-specific FISH, but it does not include uniform coverage across the arms of each chromosome and is not intended to substitute for a standard karyotype. Limitations of CMA include the inability to detect both balanced chromosome changes and low levels of mosaicism.