Utility of subtelomeric fluorescent DNA probes for detection of chromosome anomalies in 425 patients

Syed M. Jalal, Aaron R. Harwood, Gurbax S. Sekhon, Cindy Pham Lorentz, Rhett P. Ketterling, Dusica Babovic-Vuksanovic, Reid G. Meyer, Regina Ensenauer, Marvin H. Anderson, Virginia V. Michels

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

56 Scopus citations


Purpose: A complete set of subtelomeric fluorescent DNA probes, except the acrocentric p-arms, was developed in 1996, was optimized in 1998, and is commercially available. These and other fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) probes have been used to detect anomalies of the subtelomere regions among groups of patients with idiopathic mental retardation (MR), developmental delay (DD), and/or nonspecific dysmorphic features (NDF), and individuals with multiple miscarriages (MM) who were karyotypically normal by standard G-banding techniques. Methods: A total of 425 patients were analyzed, of whom 372 had idiopathic MR/DD/NDF and 53 were involved in MM. An effort was made to select individuals for this study who were either normal karyotypically or who had subtle chromosomal anomalies that were inconclusive by banded chromosome analysis, although this was not always possible. Results: Anomalies involving the subtelomere regions were detected at a frequency of 6.8% in the MR/DD/NDF group. The cryptic or subtle anomalies are estimated to be about 3.4%. It was necessary to use M-FISH, chromosome, and locus specific FISH probes to clarify some of the abnormalities. No abnormalities were detected in the MM group. Deletion variants were present for 2qter, 7pter, and Xpter/Ypter subtelomeric regions ranging from <1 to 9.6%. Conclusions: The subtelomeric FISH probes are instrumental in the detection of subtelomeric anomalies in a significant proportion, although no more than 50% are subtle, of patients with idiopathic MR/DD/NDF. In some cases, however, it was necessary to use other FISH probes to clarify the nature of these abnormalities. No subtelomeric abnormalities were detected in our group of 53 MM patients, suggesting a relatively low frequency of occurrence in this patient population.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)28-34
Number of pages7
JournalGenetics in Medicine
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2003


  • Cryptic anomalies
  • FISH probes
  • Subtelomere

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics(clinical)


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