A one-month-old child presenting with an aortic coarctation was found to have a left single transverse palmar crease and proportionate growth delay on physical examination, prompting a peripheral blood chromosome analysis. This showed a mosaic trisomy of chromosome 16, subsequently observed to decrease with the passage of time. As her phenotype was relatively benign, further analysis was performed to define more precisely the extent of her mosaicism given the supposedly lethal nature of the aneuploid cell line. Fluorescence in situ hybridisation and CA repeat polymorphism studies demonstrated the aneuploidy in multiple tissues, including the structurally affected aorta. Molecular analysis showed both maternal chromosomes 16 to be present in the trisomic cells, but maternal heterodisomy was not present in the diploid cells. Given the increasing number of individuals described with aneuploid mosaicism, we suggest that the study of multiple tissues is a necessary approach, the eventual goal being the appreciation of the relationship between the characteristics of a somatic mosaicism and the phenotype it imparts.
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