Chromosomal imbalances of several megabasepair in size are normally deleterious for the carrier. Still, rarely reported are so-called “unbalanced chromosome abnormalities” (UBCAs), which are either gains or losses or equally large genomic regions, but the affected person is not or only minimally clinically affected. The knowledge of such UBCAs is imperative also in chromosomal microarray analysis (CMA) or noninvasive prenatal testing (NIPT).
A maternally inherited del(18)(p11.32p11.31) was identified in a over two generations in a Chinese family with normal phenotype. The affected region encompasses 19 genes, among which TGIF1 is expressed in fetal and adult nervous system. TGIF1 deletions and /or mutations have been seen in cases with holoprosencephaly but also non-affected individuals, suggesting incomplete penetrance and variable expressivity.
Deletions in the terminal region of chromosome 18 short arm have been reported previously in clinically healthy persons. Here a further family with an UBCA in 18p11.3 is added to the literature, suggesting a careful genetic counselling in comparable, especially prenatal cases.