Infertile couples with Robertsonian translocations: preimplantation genetic analysis of embryos reveals chaotic cleavage divisions

Hum Genet. 1998 Jan;102(1):117-23. doi: 10.1007/s004390050663.


Preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) may provide a feasible option for some Robertsonian translocation carriers who experience severe difficulty in achieving a normal pregnancy. We report on five PGD cycles for two such couples, 45,XY,der(13;14)(q10:q10) and 45,XX,der(13;21)(q10;q10), carried out by biopsy of two cells from day 3 post-insemination embryos generated by in vitro fertilisation. Locus-specific YAC probes for chromosomes 13, 14 and 21 were used to detect the chromosomes involved in the translocation using multicolour FISH. Three embryos transfers were carried out (two single embryo transfers and one double transfer) but no clinical pregnancies were established. In two cycles no embryos were transferred as all those biopsied were chromosomally abnormal. Combined results from both couples show 13% (6/45) of embryos analysed were normal for the translocation chromosomes and 87% (39/45) were chromosomally abnormal; these were categorised as 36% aneuploid or aneuploid mosaic and 51% chaotic where the chromosome constitution varied randomly from cell to cell. This suggests two factors may be acting to reduce fertility in these couples; the aneuploid segregation of the parental Robertsonian translocation and also a post-zygotic factor leading to uncontrolled chromosome distribution in early cleavage stages in an exceptionally high proportion of embryos.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Blastomeres / pathology
  • Cell Division / genetics
  • Chromosome Mapping
  • Chromosomes, Human, Pair 13 / genetics
  • Chromosomes, Human, Pair 14 / genetics
  • Chromosomes, Human, Pair 21 / genetics
  • Embryo, Mammalian / pathology*
  • Female
  • Fertilization in Vitro
  • Humans
  • In Situ Hybridization, Fluorescence
  • Infertility / genetics*
  • Lymphocytes / pathology
  • Male
  • Pregnancy
  • Preimplantation Diagnosis* / methods
  • Translocation, Genetic / genetics*
  • X Chromosome / pathology
  • Y Chromosome / pathology