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Eur J Hum Genet. 2007 Sep;15(9):943-9. Epub 2007 May 23.

Identification of novel deletions of 15q11q13 in Angelman syndrome by array-CGH: molecular characterization and genotype-phenotype correlations.

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Department of Molecular and Human Genetics, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX, USA.


Angelman syndrome (AS) is a neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by mental retardation, absent speech, ataxia, and a happy disposition. Deletions of the 15q11q13 region are found in approximately 70% of AS patients. The deletions are sub-classified into class I and class II based on their sizes of approximately 6.8 and approximately 6.0, respectively, with two different proximal breakpoints and a common distal breakpoint. Utilizing a chromosome 15-specific comparative genomic hybridization genomic microarray (array-CGH), we have identified, determined the deletion sizes, and mapped the breakpoints in a cohort of 44 cases, to relate those breakpoints to the genomic architecture and derive more precise genotype-phenotype correlations. Interestingly four patients of the 44 studied (9.1%) had novel and unusually large deletions, and are reported here. This is the first report of very large deletions of 15q11q13 resulting in AS; the largest deletion being >10.6 Mb. These novel deletions involve three different distal breakpoints, two of which have been earlier shown to be involved in the generation of isodicentric 15q chromosomes (idic15). Additionally, precise determination of the deletion breakpoints reveals the presence of directly oriented low-copy repeats (LCRs) flanking the recurrent and novel breakpoints. The LCRs are adequate in size, orientation, and homology to enable abnormal recombination events leading to deletions and duplications. This genomic organization provides evidence for a common mechanism for the generation of both common and rare deletion types. Larger deletions result in a loss of several genes outside the common Angelman syndrome-Prader-Willi syndrome (AS-PWS) critical interval, and a more severe phenotype.

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