Nineteen patients were analysed by fluorescence in situ hybridisation (FISH) with selected 11p13 markers. They were examined because they had either isolated sporadic or familial aniridia, or aniridia with one or more of the WAGR (Wilms' tumour, aniridia, genital anomalies, and mental retardation) syndrome anomalies. The FISH markers from distal 11p13 were cosmids FO2121, PAX6 (aniridia), D11S324, and WT1 (Wilms' tumour predisposition). Two of the patients with isolated aniridia were abnormal, one with an apparently balanced reciprocal 7;11 translocation and an 11p13 breakpoint, which by FISH was shown to be approximately 30 kb distal to the aniridia (PAX6) gene, and the other had a submicroscopic deletion involving part of PAX6 that extended distally for approximately 245 kb. Two patients with aniridia together with other WAGR malformations had deletions involving all four cosmids. One case with aniridia associated with developmental and growth delay had a deletion including FO2121 and PAX6 but not D11S324 and WT1, while in a further case the deletion included all four test cosmids. These studies show that a combined conventional and molecular cytogenetic approach to patients presenting with aniridia is a useful method for differentiating between those with deletions extending into and including WT1 and therefore between those with high and low risks of developing Wilms' tumour.
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