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Genet Couns. 2004;15(2):183-90.

Maternal uniparental disomy 16 and genetic counseling: new case and survey of published cases.

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  • 1Institute of Human Genetics, Aachen, Germany. teggermann@ukaachen.de


Uniparental disomy (UPD) is the occurrence of both homologous chromosomes from one parent. Maternal UPD(16) is the most often reported UPD other than UPD(15); almost all cases are associated with confined placental mosaicism (CPM). Most of maternal UPD(16) cases are characterised by intrauterine growth retardation (IUGR) and different congenital malformations. Maternal UPD(16) has therefore been suspected to have clinical effects: however, the lack of uniqueness and specificity of the birth defects observed suggests that the phenotype may be related in parts to placental insufficiency. We report on a new case of maternal UPD(16) associated with low level trisomy 16 mosaicism in placenta and fetus. IUGR was noticed at 19 gestational weeks and the fetus died intrauterine. Apart from different craniofacial dysmorphisms she showed anal atresia. While IUGR is probably associated with trisomy 16 mosaicism, anal atresia is more characteristic for maternal UPD( 16). Considering the features in our patient as well as those in maternal UPD (16) cases from the literature, indications for UPD (16) testing can be defined: They include trisomy 16 mosaicism, IUGR and congenital anomalies (anal atresia, congenital heart defects). However, there is an overlap of clinical signs in mosaic trisomy 16 cases mosaic for maternal UPD(16) as opposed to those mosaic for biparental disomy 16. The management of trisomy 16 pregnancies should not differ from those in which maternal UPD(16) is confirmed. Therefore, a prenatal testing for UPD(16) is not useful, but it should be offered postnatally. The molecular genetic proof of maternal UPD(16) excludes an increased recurrence risk for the family for further pregnancies.

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