Author(s): Crosby JL, Varnum DS, Nadeau JH
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Abstract Congenital anomalies have complex etiologies involving both genetic and nongenetic components. Many are sporadic, without obvious evidence for heritability. An important model for these anomalies is a mutation in laboratory mice that is called "disorganization" (Ds), which functions as a variable autosomal dominant and leads to a wide variety of congenital anomalies involving many developmental processes and systems. Variable expressivity, asymmetrical manifestations, and low penetrance suggest that somatic events determine the location and nature of these anomalies. A statistical analysis suggests that occurrence of anomalies in mice with the Ds mutation follows a Poisson distribution. These results suggest that congenital anomalies in mice with the Ds mutation occur independently of each other. We propose that Ds causes a heritable predisposition to congenital anomalies and that Ds and appropriate somatic events combine to compromise normal development. We also propose that some sporadic, nonheritable congenital anomalies involve somatic mutations at Ds-like loci. Ds may therefore serve not only as a model for developmental anomalies in cell fate and pattern formation but also for complex developmental traits showing variable expressivity, low penetrance, and sporadic occurrence in mice and humans.
This article was published in Am J Hum Genet
and referenced in Journal of Pregnancy and Child Health