• spinal muscular atrophy;
  • genetic counseling;
  • deletion intron 6;
  • SMN1


We report on a rare homozygous intragenic deletion encompassing exons 1–6 of the SMN1 gene in a patient with spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) born into a consanguineous family. This exceptional configuration induced misinterpretation of the molecular defect involved in this patient, who was first reported as having a classic SMN1 exon 7 deletion. This case points out the possible pitfalls in molecular diagnosis of SMA in affected patients and their relatives: exploration of the SMN1 exon 7 (c.840C/T alleles) may be disturbed by several non-pathological or pathological variants around the SMN1 exon 7. In order to accurately describe the molecular defect in an SMA-affected patient, we propose to apply the Human Genome Variation Society nomenclature. This widely accepted nomenclature would improve the reporting of the molecular defect observed in SMA patients and thus would avoid the commonly used but imprecise terminology “absence of SMN1 exon 7.” © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.