Histone deacetylase 4 (HDAC4) serves important roles in multiple human systems, including neurological, cardiac, and skeletal functions. Mutation or deletion of HDAC4 causes brachydactyly mental retardation syndrome (BDMR), a disorder that includes intellectual disability, behavioral abnormalities, autism spectrum disorder, and craniofacial and skeletal anomalies, including brachydactyly type E. We present a case of familial BDMR, including a parent with mild symptoms of the disorder and a child exhibiting a more severe phenotype. Cytogenetic testing showed a cryptic balanced translocation in the mother that resulted in a 2q37.1 monosomy and a 10q26.1 trisomy in the son. Gene expression analyses demonstrated 67% HDAC4 expression in the mother and 23% HDAC4 expression in the son relative to normal controls, lending evidence to the hypothesis that HDAC4 modulates severity of this disorder in a dosage-dependent manner. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.