Cytogenetic imbalance in the newborn is a frequent cause of mental retardation and birth defects. Although aneuploidy accounts for the majority of imbalance, structural aberrations contribute to a significant fraction of recognized chromosomal anomalies. This review describes the major classes of constitutional, structural cytogenetic abnormalities and recent studies that explore the molecular mechanisms that bring about their de novo occurrence. Genomic features flanking the sites of recombination may result in susceptibility to chromosomal rearrangement. One such substrate for recombination is low-copy region-specific repeats. The identification of genome architectural features conferring susceptibility to rearrangements has been accomplished using methods that enable investigation of regions of the genome that are too small to be visualized by traditional cytogenetics and too large to be resolved by conventional gel electrophoresis. These investigations resulted in the identification of previously unrecognized structural cytogenetic anomalies, which are associated with genetic syndromes and allowed for the molecular basis of some chromosomal rearrangements to be delineated.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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