We report a familial case with a proximal interstitial deletion of chromosome 21q [del(21q)]. Although the mother in the family was phenotypically normal, her first child was affected with both sensorineural hearing loss and moderate mental retardation, and the second affected child had mild mental retardation but not sensorineural hearing loss. We determined breakpoints of the del(21q) in the mother and her two affected children by fluorescence in situ hybridization analysis using 45 DNA clones and the molecular analysis using 21 DNA markers. The proximal breakpoint of the del(21q) was located at a region between 0.33 Mb and 0.46Mb distal to the centromere, and the distal breakpoint was at a region between 14.6Mb and 14.9Mb. The finding indicates that the three individuals had an approximate 14-Mb deletion within 21q11.2-q21.3. Molecular analysis showed that both affected children shared the same maternal haplotype of their del(21q), but a crossover was detected in the paternally inherited normal chromosome 21. These data suggest that unmasking of deleterious genes on the paternally derived chromosome 21 of the two children as a result of the deletion may affect the extent of their mental retardation and/or sensorineural hearing loss. Usher syndrome 1E may be a candidate disease locus related to the sensorineural hearing loss of the first child.
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