Over three decades, 12 cases of mosaicism for an autosomal rearrangement were recognised in the major cytogenetics laboratories in New Zealand, eight of which were studied between 1990 and 1992. One case inferentially involved the gonad, eight the soma, and three both gonad and soma. This mosaicism could have arisen as a postzygotic event either in a conceptus that was initially normal, with the generation of an abnormal cell line, or in a conceptus having a supernumerary chromosome which was lost at a subsequent mitosis, thereby restoring a normal cell line. Three of the 12 cases involved a presumed direct duplication, an otherwise very uncommon rearrangement. This may indicate a propensity for direct duplications to arise at mitosis rather than at meiosis; unequal sister chromatid exchange is a plausible mechanism. Mosaicism has clinical relevance for genetic counselling, as an intragonadal cell line carrying a rearrangement could generate multiple unbalanced gametes. Mosaicism for an autosomal rearrangement my be very much more common that is, or ever could be, recognised.
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