Segmental aneuploidy usually has phenotypic consequences but unbalanced rearrangements without phenotypic consequences have also been reported. In particular, harmless deletions of G-dark bands 5p14 and 16q21 have each been found in more than one independent family. Here, we report two families that were ascertained at prenatal diagnosis and had similar overlapping deletions that removed most of the gene poor G-dark band 2p12. PCR mapping showed that the deletions had a minimum size of 6.1 and 6.9 Mb with at least 13 hemizygous loci including a cluster of six pancreatic islet-regenerating genes. These deletions had no apparent phenotypic consequences in eight family members. In contrast, a third family was ascertained through a child with Wilm's tumour; both the child and his mother had more proximal deletions, developmental delay and some dysmorphic features. The deletion had a minimum size of 5.7 Mb and extended into the gene-rich area of 2p11.2. These results are consistent with the idea that there may be segments of the genome that are consistently haplosufficient. The introduction of higher resolution methods of dosage analysis into diagnostic laboratories is already revealing more transmitted abnormalities of uncertain significance. As a result, published cases of transmitted imbalances have been collected as a guide to the possible significance of such findings in the future (see the 'Chromosome Anomaly Collection' at www.som.soton.ac.uk/research/geneticsdiv)
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