BACKGROUND: Previous studies focusing on candidate genes and chromosomal regions identified several copy number variations (CNVs) associated with increased risk of autism or autism spectrum disorders (ASD). CASE PRESENTATION: We describe a 17-year-old girl with autism, severe mental retardation, epilepsy, and partial 9p duplication syndrome features in whom GTG-banded chromosome analysis revealed a female karyotype with a marker chromosome in 69% of analyzed metaphases. Array CGH analysis showed that the marker chromosome originated from 9p24.3 to 9p13.1 with a gain of 38.9 Mb. This mosaic 9p duplication was detected only in the proband and not in the parents, her four unaffected siblings, or 258 ethnic controls. Apart from the marker chromosome, no other copy number variations (CNVs) were detected in the patient or her family. Detailed analysis of the duplicated region revealed: i) an area extending from 9p22.3 to 9p22.2 that was previously identified as a critical region for the 9p duplication syndrome; ii) a region extending from 9p22.1 to 9p13.1 that was previously reported to be duplicated in a normal individual; and iii) a potential ASD locus extending from 9p24.3 to 9p23. The ASD candidate locus contained 34 genes that may contribute to the autistic features in this patient. CONCLUSION: We identified a potential ASD locus (9p24.3 to 9p23) that may encompass gene(s) contributing to autism or ASD.
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