Numerous human disorders arise from microdeletions and microduplications of relatively large genomic regions. These rearrangements can result in copy number alterations (CNAs) of one or more genes. Conditions arising from microdeletions and microduplications can manifest as multiple congenital anomalies (MCA) in patients. The most common phenotypic features observed in these patients include global developmental delay, mental retardation, cardiac defects and cranio-facial differences. Thus, diseases mediated by CNAs are referred to as 'genomic disorders'as large regions of the genome are altered leading to disorders in multiple organ systems. Many of the recurrent genomic disorders are mediated by aberrant homologous recombination between highly identical blocks of DNA sequences referred to as low copy repeats or segmental duplications (SDs) which may comprise up to 5% of the human genome. Despite this known correlation between SDs and genomic disorders, a significant proportion of SDs have not yet been associated with disease- causing genomic rearrangements. This observation suggests that other SD-mediated genomic disorders may exist but are currently undetectable mainly due to the low resolution of diagnostic techniques standardly used in molecular cytogenetics. We hypothesize that a significant proportion of children with MCA have a submicroscopic CNA that is not evident on standard genetic testing. We believe that a substantial number of these CNAs may be mediated by SDs or other unstable architecture within the human genome. We will test this hypothesis by analyzing patients with MCA using high resolution microarrays in order to detect disease-causing CNAs. Further, analysis of the genomic sequences at the rearrangement breakpoints will help determine what proportion of CNAs are mediated by predisposing genome architecture like SDs. The goal of this proposal is to identify previously undetectable, disease-causing CNAs in patients with MCA. The identification of genomic regions altered in MCA patients will allow a better understanding of the mechanisms underlying this group of disorders. We can then begin to assess the role of gene(s) in these regions that may be critical to early human developmental pathways. Relevance: Many children have genetic diseases that are undiagnosed due to limitations in current methods used for testing. These children may have very small deletions and duplications which can only be detected by techniques that allow a genomewide analysis. The identification of genomic regions that are deleted or duplicated in patients with birth defects will allow the identification of genes that are important in normal development.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS)
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Genomics, Computational Biology and Technology Study Section (GCAT)
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Krasnewich, Donna M
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University of Colorado Denver
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