• Array CGH;
  • chromosomal imbalance;
  • FISH mapping;
  • targeted array;
  • diagnosis


Chromosome analysis is an important component to the diagnosis of congenital anomalies, developmental delay, and mental retardation. Routine chromosome analysis identifies aneuploidy and structural rearrangements greater than 5 Mb but cannot identify abnormalities of the telomeric regions or microdeletions reliably. Molecular cytogenetic techniques were developed to overcome these limitations. High-resolution comparative genomic hybridization (CGH)-based microarrays (array CGH) were developed to increase the resolution of chromosomal studies and to provide a comprehensive assay by using large-insert clones as the target for analysis. We constructed a microarray for the clinical diagnosis of medically significant and relatively common chromosomal alterations. Nine hundred six bacterial artificial chromosome (BAC) clones were chosen, the chromosomal locations of which were confirmed by fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH). FISH-testing showed that 7% of the clones were mismapped based on map locations obtained from two publicly available databases (58 mapped to the wrong chromosome and three mapped to a different locus on the same chromosome), 16% cross-hybridized to other chromosomes, and 12% did not hybridize or showed poor hybridization signals under uniform FISH conditions. Thus, from a total of 906 BAC clones that were evaluated, only 589 (65%) were deemed adequate for arraying on this clinical device. The performance of this array was tested in a set of blinded experiments on a cohort of phenotypically normal individuals and on individuals with known chromosome abnormalities. The array identified deletion/duplication polymorphisms not seen by FISH in the phenotypically normal individuals and detected single copy dosage differences in all of the cases with known chromosomal abnormalities. All abnormalities detected by the array were confirmed by FISH with BACs from the appropriate loci. Our data demonstrate that the rigorous assessment of BACs and their use in array CGH is especially important when the microarray is used for clinical diagnosis. In addition, this study illustrates that when constructed carefully with proper attention to the quality of the BACs that are arrayed, array CGH is an effective and efficient tool for delineating chromosomal aberrations and an important adjunct to FISH and conventional cytogenetics. © 2005 Wiley-Liss, Inc.