Chromosomal rearrangements are found in a subset of patients with autism. Duplications involving loci associated with behavioural disturbances constitute an especially good candidate mechanism. The Williams–Beuren critical region (WBCR), located at 7q11.23, is commonly deleted in Williams–Beuren microdeletion syndrome (WBS). However, only four patients with a duplication of the WBCR have been reported to date. Here, 206 patients with autism spectrum disorders were screened for the WBCR duplication by quantitative microsatellite analysis and multiple ligation-dependent probe amplification. One male patient with a de novo interstitial duplication of the entire WBCR of paternal origin was identified. The patient had autistic disorder, severe language delay and mental retardation, with mild dysmorphism. The present report concerns the first patient with autistic disorder and a WBCR duplication. This observation indicates that the 7q11.23 duplication could be involved in complex clinical phenotypes, ranging from developmental or language delay to mental retardation and autism.
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Competing interests: None.
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