De novo microdeletion on an inherited Robertsonian translocation chromosome: a cause for dysmorphism in the apparently balanced translocation carrier

Am J Hum Genet. 1993 Sep;53(3):629-37.


Robertsonian translocations are usually ascertained through abnormal children, making proposed phenotypic effects of apparently balanced translocations difficult to study in an unbiased way. From molecular genetic studies, though, some apparently balanced rearrangements are now known to be associated with phenotypic abnormalities resulting from uniparental disomy. Molecular explanations for other cases in which abnormality is seen in a balanced translocation carrier are being sought. In the present paper, an infant is described who has retarded growth, developmental delay, gross muscular hypotonia, slender habitus, frontal bossing, micrognathia, hooked nose, abundant wispy hair, and blue sclerae. Cytogenetically, she appeared to be a carrier of a balanced, paternally derived 14;21 Robertsonian translocation. Analysis of DNA polymorphisms showed that she had no paternal allele at the D14S13 locus (14q32). Study of additional DNA markers within 14q32 revealed that her previously undescribed phenotype results from an interstitial microdeletion within 14q32. Fluorescent in situ hybridization was used to show that this microdeletion had occurred de novo on the Robertsonian translocation chromosome. These observations may reactivate old suspicions of a causal association between Robertsonian translocations and de novo rearrangements in offspring; a systematic search for similar subcytogenetic rearrangements in other families, in which there are phenotypically abnormal children with apparently balanced translocations, may be fruitful. The clinical and molecular genetic data presented also define a new contiguous gene syndrome due to interstitial 14q32 deletion.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Abnormalities, Multiple / genetics*
  • Chromosome Aberrations / genetics*
  • Chromosome Banding
  • Chromosome Deletion*
  • Chromosome Disorders
  • Chromosomes, Human, Pair 14*
  • Chromosomes, Human, Pair 21*
  • Fathers
  • Female
  • Heterozygote
  • Humans
  • In Situ Hybridization, Fluorescence
  • Infant
  • Karyotyping
  • Male
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Translocation, Genetic*