Holoprosencephaly (HPE) is the most common malformation of the human forebrain. Typical manifestations in affected patients include a characteristic pattern of structural brain and craniofacial anomalies. HPE may be caused by mutations in over 10 identified genes; the inheritance is traditionally viewed as autosomal dominant with highly variable expressivity and incomplete penetrance. We present the description of a family simultaneously segregating two novel variants in the HPE-associated genes, ZIC2 and GLI2, as well as the results of extensive population-based studies of the variant region in GLI2. This is the first time that multiple HPE-associated variants in these genes have been reported in one family, and raises important questions about how clinicians and researchers should view the inheritance of conditions such as HPE.
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