Case Report| Volume 38, ISSUE 6, P590-596, June 2016

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Exome sequencing analysis in a pair of monozygotic twins re-evaluates the genetics behind their intellectual disability and reveals a CHD2 mutation



      Neurodevelopmental disorders include a broad spectrum of conditions, which are characterized by delayed motor and/or cognitive milestones and by a variable range of intellectual disability with or without an autistic behavior. Several genetic factors have been implicated in intellectual disability onset and exome sequencing studies have recently identified new inherited or de novo mutations in patients with neurodevelopmental disorders.


      We report the case of two monozygotic twins who came for the first time to our attention at the age of 20 months for a global neurodevelopmental delay associated with an autism spectrum disorder, hypotonia, postnatal microcephaly, stereotypic movements and circadian rhythm alterations in association with late-onset epilepsy. MECP2 sequence was normal. A CGH-array analysis revealed in both twins two maternally inherited duplications on chromosomes 8p22 and 16p13.11. The latter has been previously associated with neurodevelopmental disorders. We performed an exome sequencing analysis on one twin and her parents and identified a CHD2 mutation, previously described in association with a phenotypic spectrum overlapping our patients’ phenotype.


      This work underlines the importance to consider a CHD2 involvement in children with intellectual disability and autism spectrum disorder even in the absence of epilepsy at an early age. It also highlights the necessity to re-evaluate inherited copy number variants with low penetrance and/or high phenotypic variability because an underlying de novo molecular event can be the major cause of the phenotype. This is essential in order to reach a correct diagnosis and provide the couple with a proper recurrence risk.


      CNV (copy number variants), ID (intellectual disabilities), OFC (occipital frontal circumference), vnts (variants), MC (miscarriage), wg (weeks of gestation), ASD (autism spectrum disorders)


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