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Original research
Recurring germline mosaicism in a family due to reversion of an inherited derivative chromosome 8 from an 8;21 translocation with interstitial telomeric sequences


Background Mosaicism for chromosomal structural abnormalities, other than marker or ring chromosomes, is rarely inherited.

Methods We performed cytogenetics studies and breakpoint analyses on a family with transmission of mosaicism for a derivative chromosome 8 (der(8)), resulting from an unbalanced translocation between the long arms of chromosomes 8 and 21 over three generations.

Results The proband and his maternal half-sister had mosaicism for a der(8) cell line leading to trisomy of the distal 21q, and both had Down syndrome phenotypic features. Mosaicism for a cell line with the der(8) and a normal cell line was also detected in a maternal half-cousin. The der(8) was inherited from the maternal grandmother who had four abnormal cell lines containing the der(8), in addition to a normal cell line. One maternal half-aunt had the der(8) and an isodicentric chromosome 21 (idic(21)). Sequencing studies revealed microhomologies at the junctures of the der(8) and idic(21) in the half-aunt, suggesting a replicative mechanism in the rearrangement formation. Furthermore, interstitial telomeric sequences (ITS) were identified in the juncture between chromosomes 8 and 21 in the der(8).

Conclusion Mosaicism in the proband, his half-sister and half-cousin resulting from loss of chromosome 21 material from the der(8) appears to be a postzygotic event due to the genomic instability of ITS and associated with selective growth advantage of normal cells. The reversion of the inherited der(8) to a normal chromosome 8 in this family resembles revertant mosaicism of point mutations. We propose that ITS could mediate recurring revertant mosaicism for some constitutional chromosomal structural abnormalities.

  • Genomic Instability
  • Chromosome Aberrations
  • Genetic Phenomena
  • Cytogenetics
  • Human Genetics

Data availability statement

All data relevant to the study are included in the article or uploaded as supplementary information.

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