Accelerating matchmaking of novel dysmorphology syndromes through clinical and genomic characterization of a large cohort

Genet Med. 2016 Jul;18(7):686-95. doi: 10.1038/gim.2015.147. Epub 2015 Dec 3.


Purpose: Dysmorphology syndromes are among the most common referrals to clinical genetics specialists. Inability to match the dysmorphology pattern to a known syndrome can pose a major diagnostic challenge. With an aim to accelerate the establishment of new syndromes and their genetic etiology, we describe our experience with multiplex consanguineous families that appeared to represent novel autosomal recessive dysmorphology syndromes at the time of evaluation.

Methods: Combined autozygome/exome analysis of multiplex consanguineous families with apparently novel dysmorphology syndromes.

Results: Consistent with the apparent novelty of the phenotypes, our analysis revealed a strong candidate variant in genes that were novel at the time of the analysis in the majority of cases, and 10 of these genes are published here for the first time as novel candidates (CDK9, NEK9, ZNF668, TTC28, MBL2, CADPS, CACNA1H, HYAL2, CTU2, and C3ORF17). A significant minority of the phenotypes (6/31, 19%), however, were caused by genes known to cause Mendelian phenotypes, thus expanding the phenotypic spectrum of the diseases linked to these genes. The conspicuous inheritance pattern and the highly specific phenotypes appear to have contributed to the high yield (90%) of plausible molecular diagnoses in our study cohort.

Conclusion: Reporting detailed clinical and genomic analysis of a large series of apparently novel dysmorphology syndromes will likely lead to a trend to accelerate the establishment of novel syndromes and their underlying genes through open exchange of data for the benefit of patients, their families, health-care providers, and the research community.Genet Med 18 7, 686-695.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Abnormalities, Multiple / diagnosis*
  • Abnormalities, Multiple / genetics
  • Abnormalities, Multiple / physiopathology
  • Consanguinity
  • Disorders of Sex Development / diagnosis
  • Disorders of Sex Development / genetics
  • Disorders of Sex Development / physiopathology
  • Exome / genetics*
  • Female
  • Genomics*
  • High-Throughput Nucleotide Sequencing
  • Humans
  • Hypoglycemia / diagnosis*
  • Hypoglycemia / genetics
  • Hypoglycemia / physiopathology
  • Male
  • Microcephaly / diagnosis*
  • Microcephaly / genetics
  • Microcephaly / physiopathology
  • Mutation
  • Pedigree
  • Phenotype
  • Sequence Analysis, DNA / methods