A modified panel of sentinel congenital anomalies for potential use in mutation epidemiology based on birth defects registry data

Peter H. Langlois, Karen B. Moffitt, Angela E. Scheuerle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Scopus citations


Since 1983, several authors have used panels of "sentinel" congenital anomalies that might serve as indicators of the human genome mutation rate. The current study suggests a considerably updated panel, and applies it to public health birth defects registry data to determine the potential number of de novo cases. Data were taken from deliveries in 1999-2009 from the Texas Birth Defects Registry, an active surveillance program. Cases with one of the conditions or syndromes in the panel were identified using codes and text searches. Frequencies and birth prevalence were calculated for the overall panel and subcategories within it. Of the 60 conditions appearing in previous papers on sentinel phenotypes, 21 (35%) were used in the current study along with 27 new phenotypes. We found 1,694 cases. Of those, 1,100 exhibited phenotypes thought to arise de novo in at least 90% of the cases ("all/almost all" subpanel), and 594 considered de novo in roughly 50-90% of cases ("most" subpanel). Chromosomal deletion disorders were present in 523 cases and imprinting disorders in 243. After adjusting for maternal age, occurrence of cases in the total panel, "most" subpanel, and imprinting disorders subpanel were significantly associated with paternal age. Our panel of sentinel phenotypes differs from previous panels due to evolved knowledge of genetic disorders, different approaches with respect to interviewing, and different operational definitions. It is hoped that using an overall panel as well as subpanels may maximize statistical power as well as suggest potential mechanisms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2187-2199
Number of pages13
JournalAmerican Journal of Medical Genetics, Part A
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2014



  • Congenital abnormalities
  • Mutation
  • Paternal age
  • Sentinel surveillance
  • Texas

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics
  • Genetics(clinical)

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