Genomic and phenotypic delineation of congenital microcephaly

Ranad Shaheen, Sateesh Maddirevula, Nour Ewida, Saud Alsahli, Ghada M.H. Abdel-Salam, Maha S. Zaki, Saeed Al Tala, Amal Alhashem, Ameen Softah, Mohammed Al-Owain, Anas M. Alazami, Basma Abadel, Nisha Patel, Tarfa Al-Sheddi, Rana Alomar, Eman Alobeid, Niema Ibrahim, Mais Hashem, Firdous Abdulwahab, Muddathir HamadBrahim Tabarki, Ali H. Alwadei, Fahad Alhazzani, Fahad A. Bashiri, Amal Kentab, Serdar Şahintürk, Elliott Sherr, Brieana Fregeau, Samira Sogati, Saad Ali M. Alshahwan, Salwa Alkhalifi, Zainab Alhumaidi, Samia Temtamy, Mona Aglan, Ghada Otaify, Katta M. Girisha, Maha Tulbah, Mohammed Zain Seidahmed, Mustafa A. Salih, Mohamed Abouelhoda, Afaque A. Momin, Muna Al Saffar, Jennifer N. Partlow, Stefan T. Arold, Eissa Faqeih, Christopher Walsh, Fowzan S. Alkuraya

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

80 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: Congenital microcephaly (CM) is an important birth defect with long term neurological sequelae. We aimed to perform detailed phenotypic and genomic analysis of patients with Mendelian forms of CM. Methods: Clinical phenotyping, targeted or exome sequencing, and autozygome analysis. Results: We describe 150 patients (104 families) with 56 Mendelian forms of CM. Our data show little overlap with the genetic causes of postnatal microcephaly. We also show that a broad definition of primary microcephaly —as an autosomal recessive form of nonsyndromic CM with severe postnatal deceleration of occipitofrontal circumference—is highly sensitive but has a limited specificity. In addition, we expand the overlap between primary microcephaly and microcephalic primordial dwarfism both clinically (short stature in >52% of patients with primary microcephaly) and molecularly (e.g., we report the first instance of CEP135-related microcephalic primordial dwarfism). We expand the allelic and locus heterogeneity of CM by reporting 37 novel likely disease-causing variants in 27 disease genes, confirming the candidacy of ANKLE2,YARS, FRMD4A, and THG1L, and proposing the candidacy of BPTF, MAP1B, CCNH, and PPFIBP1. Conclusion: Our study refines the phenotype of CM, expands its genetics heterogeneity, and informs the workup of children born with this developmental brain defect.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)545-552
Number of pages8
JournalGenetics in Medicine
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 1 2019


  • autozygome
  • dwarfism
  • primary microcephaly

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics(clinical)


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