Whole exome sequencing identifies FGF16 nonsense mutations as the cause of X-linked recessive metacarpal 4/5 fusion

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Metacarpal 4–5 fusion (MF4; MIM %309630) is a rare congenital malformation of the hand characterised by the partial or complete fusion of the fourth and fifth metacarpals. The anomaly occurs as an isolated trait or part of a genetic syndrome.


To search for disease-causing mutation, whole exome sequencing (WES) was performed on samples from a single trio. Before WES, molecular screening including gene sequencing and array comparative genomic hybridisation was applied. Validation of WES and segregation studies were done using routine Sanger sequencing.


Exome sequencing detected a nonsense mutation (c.C535T; p.R179X) in exon 3 of the FGF16 gene, which maps to chromosome Xq21.1. Mutational screening of the FGF16 gene performed in an unrelated proband of different ethnicity showed another nonsense mutation in exon 3 (c.C470A; p.S157X).


This study shows that truncating mutations of FGF16 are associated with X-linked recessive metacarpal 4–5 fusion. The study provides evidence for the involvement of FGF16 in the fine tuning of the human skeleton of the hand.

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