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Uniparental disomy

Uniparental disomy (UPD) occurs when a person receives two copies of a chromosome, or of part of a chromosome, from one parent and no copy from the other parent.[1] UPD can be the result of heterodisomy, in which a pair of non-identical chromosomes are inherited from one parent (an earlier stage meiosis I error) or isodisomy, in which a single chromosome from one parent is duplicated (a later stage meiosis II error).[2] Uniparental disomy may have clinical relevance for several reasons. For example, either isodisomy or heterodisomy can disrupt parent-specific genomic imprinting, resulting in imprinting disorders. Additionally, isodisomy leads to large blocks of homozygosity, which may lead to the uncovering of recessive genes, a similar phenomenon seen in inbred children of consanguineous partners.[3]

Uniparental disomy
Animation of uniparental isodisomy
SpecialtyMedical genetics


UPD can occur as a random event during the formation of egg cells or sperm cells or may happen in early fetal development. It can also occur during trisomic rescue.

  • When the child receives two (different) homologous chromosomes (inherited from both grandparents) from one parent, this is called a heterodisomic UPD. Heterodisomy (heterozygous) indicates a meiosis I error if the gene loci in question didn't cross over.[4]
  • When the child receives two (identical) replica copies of a single homologue of a chromosome, this is called an isodisomic UPD. Isodisomy (homozygous) indicates either a meiosis II (if the gene loci in question didn't cross over[4]) or postzygotic chromosomal duplication.
  • A meiosis I error can result in isodisomic UPD if the gene loci in question crossed over, for example, a distal isodisomy would be due to duplicated gene loci from the maternal grandmother that crossed over and due to an error during Meiosis I, ended up in the same gamete.[4]
  • A meiosis II error can result in heterodisomy UPD if the gene loci crossed over in a similar fashion.[4]


Most occurrences of UPD result in no phenotypical anomalies. However, if the UPD-causing event happened during meiosis II, the genotype may include identical copies of the uniparental chromosome (isodisomy), leading to the manifestation of rare recessive disorders. UPD should be suspected in an individual manifesting a recessive disorder where only one parent is a carrier.

Uniparental inheritance of imprinted genes can also result in phenotypical anomalies. Although few imprinted genes have been identified, uniparental inheritance of an imprinted gene can result in the loss of gene function, which can lead to delayed development, mental retardation, or other medical problems.

  • The most well-known conditions include Prader–Willi syndrome and Angelman syndrome. Both of these disorders can be caused by UPD or other errors in imprinting involving genes on the long arm of chromosome 15.[5]
  • Other conditions, such as Beckwith–Wiedemann syndrome, are associated with abnormalities of imprinted genes on the short arm of chromosome 11.
  • Chromosome 14 is also known to cause particular symptoms such as skeletal abnormalities, intellectual disability, and joint contractures, among others.[6][7]
  • UPD has rarely been studied prospectively, with most reports focusing on either known conditions or incidental findings. It has been proposed that the incidence may not be as low as believed, rather it may be under-reported.[8]

All chromosomesEdit

Occasionally, all chromosomes will be inherited from one parent. As a result, recessive traits can be expressed.[9]


The first clinical case of UPD was reported in 1988 and involved a girl with cystic fibrosis and unusually short stature who carried two copies of maternal chromosome 7.[10] Since 1991, out of the 47 possible disomies, 29 have been identified among individuals ascertained for medical reasons. This includes chromosomes 2, 5–11, 13–16, 21 and 22.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Robinson WP (May 2000). "Mechanisms leading to uniparental disomy and their clinical consequences". BioEssays. 22 (5): 452–9. doi:10.1002/(SICI)1521-1878(200005)22:5<452::AID-BIES7>3.0.CO;2-K. PMID 10797485.
  2. ^ Human Molecular Genetics 3. Garland Science. p. 58. ISBN 0-8153-4183-0.
  3. ^ King DA. "A novel method for detecting uniparental disomy from trio genotypes identifies a significant excess in children with developmental disorders". Genome Research. 24: 673–687. doi:10.1101/gr.160465.113. PMC 3975066. PMID 24356988.
  4. ^ a b c d "Meiosis: Uniparental Disomy". Retrieved 29 February 2016.
  5. ^ Angelman Syndrome, Online Mendelian Inheritance in Man
  6. ^ 608149
  7. ^ 32320
  8. ^ Bhatt, Arpan; Liehr, Thomas; Bakshi, Sonal R. (2013). "Phenotypic spectrum in uniparental disomy: Low incidence or lack of study". Indian Journal of Human Genetics. 19 (3): 131–34. doi:10.4103/0971-6866.120819. PMC 3841555. Archived from the original on 2014-02-20.CS1 maint: unfit url (link)
  9. ^ "Heterodisomy and isodisomy: imprinting or unmasking of a mutant recessive allele?" (PDF). Expert Reviews in Molecular Medicine. Retrieved 11 June 2017.
  10. ^ Spence JE, Perciaccante RG, Greig GM, Willard HF, Ledbetter DH, Hejtmancik JF, Pollack MS, O'Brien WE, Beaudet AL (1988). "Uniparental disomy as a mechanism for human genetic disease". American Journal of Human Genetics. 42 (2): 217–226. PMC 1715272. PMID 2893543.

External linksEdit


This article incorporates public domain text from The U.S. National Library of Medicine