Genetic testing and diagnostic strategies of fetal skeletal dysplasia: a preliminary study in Wuhan, China

Orphanet J Rare Dis. 2023 Oct 25;18(1):336. doi: 10.1186/s13023-023-02955-4.


Background: Fetal skeletal dysplasia is a diverse group of degenerative diseases of bone and cartilage disorders that can lead to movement disorder and even death. This study aims to evaluate the diagnostic yield of sonographic examination and genetic testing for fetal skeletal dysplasia.

Methods: From September 2015 to April 2021, the study investigated 24 cases with suspected short-limb fetuses, which were obtained from Tongji Hospital affiliated to Tongji Medical College of Huazhong University of Science and Technology. To identify the causative gene, multiple approaches (including karyotype analysis, copy number variations and whole exome sequencing) were performed on these fetuses. And further segregation analysis of the candidate variant was performed in parents by using Sanger sequencing.

Results: ① Out of 24 cases, likely pathogenic variants in FGFR3, FBN2, COL1A2, CUL7 and DYNC2H1 were detected in 6 cases; pathogenic variants in FGFR3, IMPAD1 and GORAB were identified in other 6 cases; and variants in WNT1, FBN1, OBSL1, COL1A1, DYNC2H1 and NEK1, known as Variant of Undetermined Significance, were found in 4 cases. There were no variants detected in the rest 8 cases by the whole exome sequencing. ② Of 24 cases, 12 (50%) were found to carry variants (pathogenic or likely pathogenic) in seven genes with 12 variants. Four fetuses (16.7%) had variants of uncertain significance.

Conclusion: Genetic testing combining with ultrasound scanning enhances the accurate diagnosis of fatal skeletal dysplasia in utero, and then provides appropriate genetic counseling.

Keywords: Fetal skeletal dysplasia; Genetic testing; Prenatal diagnosis; Ultrasound scanning.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cytoskeletal Proteins / genetics
  • DNA Copy Number Variations*
  • Fetus
  • Genetic Testing
  • Humans
  • Osteochondrodysplasias* / genetics


  • Collagen Type I, alpha2 Subunit
  • OBSL1 protein, human
  • Cytoskeletal Proteins