A distinct neurodevelopmental syndrome with intellectual disability, autism spectrum disorder, characteristic facies, and macrocephaly is caused by defects in CHD8


A decade ago, we described novel de novo submicroscopic deletions of chromosome 14q11.2 in three children with developmental delay, cognitive impairment, and similar dysmorphic features, including widely-spaced eyes, short nose with flat nasal bridge, long philtrum, prominent Cupid’s bow of the upper lip, full lower lip, and auricular anomalies. We suggested that this constituted a new multiple congenital anomaly—intellectual disability syndrome due to defects in CHD8 and/or SUPT16H. The three patients in our original cohort were between 2 years and 3 years of age at the time. Here we present a fourth patient and clinical updates on our previous patients. To document the longitudinal course more fully, we integrate published reports of other patients and describe genotype–phenotype correlations among them. Children with the disorder present with developmental delay, intellectual disability, and/or autism spectrum disorder in addition to characteristic facies. Gastrointestinal and sleep problems are notable. The identification of multiple patients with the same genetic defect and characteristic clinical phenotype, confirms our suggestion that this is a syndromic disorder caused by haploinsufficiency or heterozygous loss of function of CHD8.

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Our special thanks to the families who readily provided updated photographs and video and who have been involved participants all along.


FRZ was supported by a CIHR Post-Doctoral Scholarship, NeuroDevNet post-fellowship, and UBC BlumaTischler fellowship. WTG is supported by a BCCHR Intramural IGAP award and by Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) Grant PJT-148830. This work was supported by funds from the CIHR grant MOP-102600.

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Correspondence to Farah R. Zahir.

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Yasin, H., Gibson, W.T., Langlois, S. et al. A distinct neurodevelopmental syndrome with intellectual disability, autism spectrum disorder, characteristic facies, and macrocephaly is caused by defects in CHD8. J Hum Genet 64, 271–280 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1038/s10038-019-0561-0

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