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Eur J Med Genet. 2011 Mar-Apr;54(2):136-43. doi: 10.1016/j.ejmg.2010.11.005. Epub 2010 Nov 26.

A parallel SNP array study of genomic aberrations associated with mental retardation in patients and general population in Estonia.

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Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology, University of Tartu, Tartu, Estonia.


The increasing use of whole-genome array screening has revealed the important role of DNA copy-number variations in the pathogenesis of neurodevelopmental disorders and several recurrent genomic disorders have been defined during recent years. However, some variants considered to be pathogenic have also been observed in phenotypically normal individuals. This underlines the importance of further characterization of genomic variants with potentially variable expressivity in both patient and general population cohorts to clarify their phenotypic consequence. In this study whole-genome SNP arrays were used to investigate genomic rearrangements in 77 Estonian families with idiopathic mental retardation. In addition to this family-based approach, phenotype and genotype data from a cohort of 1000 individuals in the general population were used for accurate interpretation of aberrations found in mental retardation patients. Relevant structural aberrations were detected in 18 of the families analyzed (23%). Fifteen of those were in genomic regions where clinical significance has previously been established. In 3 families, 4 novel aberrations associated with intellectual disability were detected in chromosome regions 2p25.1-p24.3, 3p12.1-p11.2, 7p21.2-p21.1 and Xq28. Carriers of imbalances in 15q13.3, 16p11.2 and Xp22.31 were identified among reference individuals, affirming the variable phenotypic consequence of rare variants in some genomic regions considered as pathogenic.

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