Background: Complex chromosomal rearrangements are constitutive structural aberrations involving three or more breaks. They can be balanced or unbalanced and result in different outcomes, depending on deletion/duplication of genomic material, gene disruption, or position effects.
Case presentation: We report on a patient presenting with severe anemia, splenomegaly, mild intellectual disability and facial dysmorphisms harboring a 4.3 Mb duplication at 1p22.1p21.3 and a 2.1 Mb deletion at 8q21.3q22.1, involving RUNX1T1 gene. The healthy brother presented the same duplication of chromosome 1p as at 1p22.1p21.3.
Conclusions: The rearrangement found both these siblings resulted from malsegregation in the proband and recombination in her healthy brother of a balanced paternal complex chromosomal rearrangement. These results confirm RUNX1T1 as a causative gene for intellectual disability and suggest the 1p22.1p21.3 duplication is likely benign.