Precise characterization of apparently balanced complex chromosomal rearrangements in non-affected individuals is crucial as they may result in reproductive failure, recurrent miscarriages or affected offspring.
We present a family, where the non-affected father and daughter were found, using FISH and karyotyping, to be carriers of a three-way complex chromosomal rearrangement [t(6;7;10)(q16.2;q34;q26.1), de novo in the father]. The family suffered from two stillbirths, one miscarriage, and has a son with severe intellectual disability. In the present study, the family was revisited using whole-genome mate-pair sequencing. Interestingly, whole-genome mate-pair sequencing revealed a cryptic breakpoint on derivative (der) chromosome 6 rendering the rearrangement even more complex. FISH using a chromosome (chr) 6 custom-designed probe and a chr10 control probe confirmed that the interstitial chr6 segment, created by the two chr6 breakpoints, was translocated onto der(10). Breakpoints were successfully validated with Sanger sequencing, and small imbalances as well as microhomology were identified. Finally, the complex chromosomal rearrangement breakpoints disrupted the SIM1, GRIK2, CNTNAP2, and PTPRE genes without causing any phenotype development.
In contrast to the majority of maternally transmitted complex chromosomal rearrangement cases, our study investigated a rare case where a complex chromosomal rearrangement, which most probably resulted from a Type IV hexavalent during the pachytene stage of meiosis I, was stably transmitted from a fertile father to his non-affected daughter. Whole-genome mate-pair sequencing proved highly successful in identifying cryptic complexity, which consequently provided further insight into the meiotic segregation of chromosomes and the increased reproductive risk in individuals carrying the specific complex chromosomal rearrangement. We propose that such complex rearrangements should be characterized in detail using a combination of conventional cytogenetic and NGS-based approaches to aid in better prenatal preimplantation genetic diagnosis and counseling in couples with reproductive problems.