Developmental consequences of autosomal aneuploidy in mammals

John D. Gearhart, Mary L. Oster‐Granite, Roger H. Reeves, Joseph T. Coyle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Autosomal aneuploidy in mammals adversely affects developmental processes. In human beings, for example, trisomy 21 is the most frequent aneuploidy detected among newborns and the most common known genetic cause of mental retardation. In this review, several hypotheses are discussed that have been proposed to explain the mechanisms by which aneuploidy (especially trisomy) disrupts development. These mechanisms included specific gene dosage effects, generalized disruption of genetic homeostasis, and the influence of the parental origin of the duplicated chromosome. The availability of specific chromosomal rearrangements in mice, coupled with selective breeding schemes, permits generation of aneuploidy of specific chromosomes or chromosomal segments on controlled genetic backgrounds, thus enabling the systematic study of the causes and consequences of defined aneuploidy. Phenotypic characteristics associated with a number of specific aneuploidies in the mouse are discussed. Emphasis is placed on the effects of trisomy 16. Genetic homology between mouse chromosome 16 and human chromosome 21 has led investigators to suggest that analogous mechanisms will be responsible for the developmental abnormalities produced in these respective aneuploidies. Analysis of trisomy 16 mice from the organismal to the subcellular level has revealed a number of phenotypic characteristics (particularly neurobiologic ones) shared with human trisomy 21. The dosage effects of shared genes (or their products) may contribute to the development of these features.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)249-265
Number of pages17
JournalDevelopmental Genetics
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1987


  • Down syndrome
  • gene dosage effects
  • trisomy
  • trisomy 16 mouse
  • trisomy 19 mouse

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics
  • Developmental Biology
  • Cell Biology


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