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Eur J Med Genet. 2005 Apr-Jun;48(2):167-74. Epub 2005 Feb 17.

Unbalanced 18q/21q translocation in a patient previously reported as monosomy 21.

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  • 1Institute of Medical Genetics of the University of Zurich, Schwerzenbach, Switzerland.


We describe a patient in whom full monosomy 21 was initially assumed from routine GTG-banded karyotyping. Re-examination with chromosome painting demonstrated an unbalanced translocation between the long arms of chromosomes 18 and 21. Fluorescence in situ hybridisation (FISH) and microsatellite marker analysis revealed partial monosomy of chromosome 21 (pter-q21) and 18(q22-qter). The patient, 18 years old at the second examination, revealed multiple dysmorphic features, genital hypoplasia, dilated cerebral ventricles, muscular hypotonia and severe mental retardation. In not one out of all patients investigated postnatally in whom an initial examination had revealed monosomy 21, this could be confirmed by FISH; in all of them, re-examination detected an unbalanced rearrangement leading to only partial monosomy 21 plus partial monosomy of another chromosome to which the distal 21q segment was attached. Thus, it is still highly likely that full monosomy 21 is incompatible with intra-uterine survival.

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