CHARGE syndrome [coloboma of the eye, heart defects, atresia of the choanae, retardation of growth and/or development, genital and/or urinary abnormalities, and ear abnormalities (including deafness)] is a genetic disorder characterized by a specific and a recognizable pattern of anomalies. De novo mutations in the gene encoding chromodomain helicase DNA binding protein 7 (CHD7) are the major cause of CHARGE syndrome. Here, we review the clinical features of 379 CHARGE patients who tested positive or negative for mutations in CHD7. We found that CHARGE individuals with CHD7 mutations more commonly have ocular colobomas, temporal bone anomalies (semicircular canal hypoplasia/dysplasia), and facial nerve paralysis compared with mutation negative individuals. We also highlight recent genetic and genomic studies that have provided functional insights into CHD7 and the pathogenesis of CHARGE syndrome. © 2010 Wiley-Liss, Inc.