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Nat Rev Genet. 2017 Mar;18(3):147-163. doi: 10.1038/nrg.2016.154. Epub 2016 Dec 28.

Down syndrome and the complexity of genome dosage imbalance.

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Department of Genetic Medicine and Development, University of Geneva Medical School and University Hospitals of Geneva, 1 rue Michel-Servet, 1211 Geneva, Switzerland.


Down syndrome (also known as trisomy 21) is the model human phenotype for all genomic gain dosage imbalances, including microduplications. The functional genomic exploration of the post-sequencing years of chromosome 21, and the generation of numerous cellular and mouse models, have provided an unprecedented opportunity to decipher the molecular consequences of genome dosage imbalance. Studies of Down syndrome could provide knowledge far beyond the well-known characteristics of intellectual disability and dysmorphic features, as several other important features, including congenital heart defects, early ageing, Alzheimer disease and childhood leukaemia, are also part of the Down syndrome phenotypic spectrum. The elucidation of the molecular mechanisms that cause or modify the risk for different Down syndrome phenotypes could lead to the introduction of previously unimaginable therapeutic options.

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