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copy number variants

Sunday 4 February 2007

Submicroscopic (less than 2 Mb) segmental DNA copy number changes are a recently recognized source of genetic variability between individuals. The biological consequences of copy number variants (CNVs) are largely undefined.

In some cases, CNVs that cause gene dosage effects have been implicated in phenotypic variation. CNVs have been detected in diverse species, including mice and humans.

Deletions and duplications of chromosomal segments (copy number variants, CNVs) are a major source of variation between individual humans and are an underlying factor in human evolution and in many diseases, including mental illness, developmental disorders and cancer.

CNVs form at a faster rate than other types of mutation, and seem to do so by similar mechanisms in bacteria, yeast and humans.

Non-homologous end-joining mechanisms are well known, but recent models focus on perturbation of DNA replication and replication of non-contiguous DNA segments.

For example, cellular stress might induce repair of broken replication forks to switch from high-fidelity homologous recombination to non-homologous repair, thus promoting copy number change.


Inter-individual copy number variation is a considerable and unanticipated plasticity of the human genome. These structural changes constitute a major source of inter-individual genetic variation that could explain variable penetrance of inherited (Mendelian and polygenic) diseases and variation in the phenotypic expression of aneuploidies and sporadic traits, and might represent a major factor in the aetiology of complex, multifactorial traits.

Copy number variations (CNVs) within the human genome contribute to nucleotide diversity to a larger extent than single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs).

The contribution of CNVs to human disease susceptibility may be greater than previously expected, although a complete understanding of the phenotypic consequences of CNVs is incomplete.

Segmental copy-number variations (CNVs) in the human genome are associated with developmental disorders and susceptibility to diseases. More importantly, CNVs may represent a major genetic component of our phenotypic diversity.

Copy-number variations (CNVs) of somatic cells

The exploration of copy-number variation (CNV), notably of somatic cells, is an understudied aspect of genome biology. Any differences in the genetic makeup between twins derived from the same zygote represent an irrefutable example of somatic mosaicism. CNVs exist within pairs of monozygotic twins with either concordant or discordant phenotype. (18304490)


- autosomal segmental CNVs

See also

- Oncobase
- SNPs
- CNVs associatito identify
- complex traits.


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