Chromosomal microarray (CMA) is increasingly utilized for genetic testing of individuals with unexplained developmental delay/intellectual disability (DD/ID), autism spectrum disorders (ASD), or multiple congenital anomalies (MCA). Performing CMA and G-banded karyotyping on every patient substantially increases the total cost of genetic testing. The International Standard Cytogenomic Array (ISCA) Consortium held two international workshops and conducted a literature review of 33 studies, including 21,698 patients tested by CMA. We provide an evidence-based summary of clinical cytogenetic testing comparing CMA to G-banded karyotyping with respect to technical advantages and limitations, diagnostic yield for various types of chromosomal aberrations, and issues that affect test interpretation. CMA offers a much higher diagnostic yield (15%-20%) for genetic testing of individuals with unexplained DD/ID, ASD, or MCA than a G-banded karyotype ( approximately 3%, excluding Down syndrome and other recognizable chromosomal syndromes), primarily because of its higher sensitivity for submicroscopic deletions and duplications. Truly balanced rearrangements and low-level mosaicism are generally not detectable by arrays, but these are relatively infrequent causes of abnormal phenotypes in this population (<1%). Available evidence strongly supports the use of CMA in place of G-banded karyotyping as the first-tier cytogenetic diagnostic test for patients with DD/ID, ASD, or MCA. G-banded karyotype analysis should be reserved for patients with obvious chromosomal syndromes (e.g., Down syndrome), a family history of chromosomal rearrangement, or a history of multiple miscarriages.
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