Underrepresentation of phenotypic variability of 16p13.11 microduplication syndrome assessed with an online self-phenotyping tool (Phenotypr): Cohort study

Jianqiao Li, Margaret A. Hojlo, Sampath Chennuri, Nitin Gujral, Heather L. Paterson, Kent A. Shefchek, Casie A. Genetti, Emily L. Cohn, Kara C. Sewalk, Emily A. Garvey, Elizabeth D. Buttermore, Nickesha C. Anderson, Alan H. Beggs, Pankaj B. Agrawal, John S. Brownstein, Melissa A. Haendel, Ingrid A. Holm, Joseph Gonzalez-Heydrich, Catherine A. Brownstein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Background: 16p13.11 microduplication syndrome has a variable presentation and is characterized primarily by neurodevelopmental and physical phenotypes resulting from copy number variation at chromosome 16p13.11. Given its variability, there may be features that have not yet been reported. The goal of this study was to use a patient "self-phenotyping" survey to collect data directly from patients to further characterize the phenotypes of 16p13.11 microduplication syndrome. Objective: This study aimed to (1) discover self-identified phenotypes in 16p13.11 microduplication syndrome that have been underrepresented in the scientific literature and (2) demonstrate that self-phenotyping tools are valuable sources of data for the medical and scientific communities. Methods: As part of a large study to compare and evaluate patient self-phenotyping surveys, an online survey tool, Phenotypr, was developed for patients with rare disorders to self-report phenotypes. Participants with 16p13.11 microduplication syndrome were recruited through the Boston Children's Hospital 16p13.11 Registry. Either the caregiver, parent, or legal guardian of an affected child or the affected person (if aged 18 years or above) completed the survey. Results were securely transferred to a Research Electronic Data Capture database and aggregated for analysis. Results: A total of 19 participants enrolled in the study. Notably, among the 19 participants, aggression and anxiety were mentioned by 3 (16%) and 4 (21%) participants, respectively, which is an increase over the numbers in previously published literature. Additionally, among the 19 participants, 3 (16%) had asthma and 2 (11%) had other immunological disorders, both of which have not been previously described in the syndrome. Conclusions: Several phenotypes might be underrepresented in the previous 16p13.11 microduplication literature, and new possible phenotypes have been identified. Whenever possible, patients should continue to be referenced as a source of complete phenotyping data on their condition. Self-phenotyping may lead to a better understanding of the prevalence of phenotypes in genetic disorders and may identify previously unreported phenotypes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere21023
JournalJournal of medical Internet research
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2021


  • 16p13.11 microduplication syndrome
  • Copy number variation
  • Digital health
  • Genetics
  • Human phenotype ontology
  • Incomplete penetrance
  • Online survey
  • Phenotype
  • Self-phenotyping
  • Variable presentation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Informatics


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