- Open Access
New cytogenetically visible copy number variant in region 8q21.2
© Manvelyan et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. 2011
Received: 26 November 2010
Accepted: 5 January 2011
Published: 5 January 2011
Cytogenetically visible unbalanced chromosomal abnormalities (UBCA), reported for >50 euchromatic regions of almost all human autosomes, are comprised of a few megabases of DNA, and carriers are in many cases clinically healthy. It may be speculated, that some of the UBCA may be similar or identical to copy number variants (CNV) of the human genome.
Here we report on a yet unreported cytogenetically visible copy number variant (CNV) in the long arm of chromosome 8, region 8q21.2, detected in three unrelated clinically healthy carriers.
The first description of a cytogenetically visible CNV/UBCA in 8q21.2 shows that banding cytogenetics is far from being outdated. It is a cost efficient, up-to-date method for a single cell specific overview on the whole genome, still prepared to deliver unexpected findings.
Structural variation of the human genome including large insertions and deletions of DNA, denoted as copy-number variants (CNVs), as well as balanced chromosomal rearrangements, such as inversions, contribute to a major proportion of genetic variance in human . Up to 12% of genome is constituted by CNV, which can arise both meiotically and somatically [2–4]. CNV were identified by array-based approaches and include hundreds of previously undetected structural variants in the human genome [5–7].
The finding of unbalanced chromosomal abnormalities (UBCA) was recently reviewed and summarized from a total of 200 families [8, 9]. UBCA usually involve several megabases of DNA, and carriers of such a UBCA are ascertained in most cases either through an abnormal phenotype or adverse reproductive effects [10, 11].
Recently, it became possible to connect DNA polymorphism at a molecular genetic with microscopically visible molecular cytogenetic level by using CNV-specific bacterial artificial chromosomes (BACs) as probes for fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) [4, 7, 12]. Applying such a CNV-specific BAC from 8q21.2 we were able to characterize a new chromosomal region involved in a cytogenetic visible UBCA in three healthy persons.
One female (case 1) and two male (cases 2 and 3) were studied by banding cytogenetics. Cases 1 and two were of Middle-European descent, while case 3 was Japanese. Case 1 was referred for reasons of family planning, as there was mental retardation and cystic fibrosis observed within close relatives. Case 2 was studied due to fertility problems and planned ICSI and case 3 had azoospermia with infertility.
A CNV of 8q21.2 covered by the BAC RP11-96G1 was initially described by  identified by DNA-array-based methods. In that study, 10 out of 39 healthy individuals had a CNV in the corresponding region. Three of the persons showed a gain, seven a loss of copy numbers in 86.8 to 87.0 Mb. Here for the first time the same CNV was detected as UBCA cytogenetically in three unrelated healthy persons of different ethnic origin. This suggests that the CNV/UBCA in 8q21.2 might be quite frequent in the human population; however, as it is not easily recognized by GTG-banding up to present was simply not recorded in most of the cases.
Interestingly, the CNV/UBCA region was already found to be involved in gene amplification in breast  and prostate cancer , as well as in aberrant methylation in osteosarcoma . However, the impact of that has to be elucidated in future.
Overall, this description of a cytogenetically visible CNV/UBCA in 8q21.2 shows that banding cytogenetics is still far from being outdated. On the contrary, it is a cost efficient up-to-date method for a single cell specific overview on the whole genome, still prepared to deliver unexpected findings.
Material and methods
Banding cytogenetic analyses of peripheral blood lymphocytes was performed according to standard protocols . Molecular cytogenetic analysis using BAC-probes was done as previously reported . 20 metaphases per case and BAC probe were analyzed, each. The BACs RP11-27N21, RP11-260D13, RP11-317J10, RP11-354A14 and RP11-96G1 were obtained from BACPAC Chori and the extracted DNA labeled as described in .
This work was supported in parts by DFG (LI 820/24-1).
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