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Genetics Home Reference: your guide to understanding genetic conditions     A service of the U.S. National Library of Medicine®

Isodicentric chromosome 15 syndrome

Reviewed September 2012

What is isodicentric chromosome 15 syndrome?

Isodicentric chromosome 15 syndrome is a developmental disorder with a broad spectrum of features. The signs and symptoms vary among affected individuals.

Poor muscle tone is commonly seen in individuals with isodicentric chromosome 15 syndrome and contributes to delayed development and impairment of motor skills, including sitting and walking.

Babies with isodicentric chromosome 15 syndrome often have trouble feeding due to weak facial muscles that impair sucking and swallowing; many also have backflow of acidic stomach contents into the esophagus (gastroesophageal reflux). These feeding problems may make it difficult for them to gain weight.

Intellectual disability in isodicentric chromosome 15 syndrome can range from mild to profound. Speech is usually delayed and often remains absent or impaired. Behavioral difficulties often associated with isodicentric chromosome 15 syndrome include hyperactivity, anxiety, and frustration leading to tantrums. Other behaviors resemble features of autistic spectrum disorders, such as repeating the words of others (echolalia), difficulty with changes in routine, and problems with social interaction.

About two-thirds of people with isodicentric chromosome 15 syndrome have seizures. In more than half of affected individuals, the seizures begin in the first year of life.

About 40 percent of individuals with isodicentric chromosome 15 syndrome are born with eyes that do not look in the same direction (strabismus). Hearing loss in childhood is common and is usually caused by fluid buildup in the middle ear. This hearing loss is often temporary. However, if left untreated during early childhood, the hearing loss can interfere with language development and worsen the speech problems associated with this disorder.

Other problems associated with isodicentric chromosome 15 syndrome in some affected individuals include minor genital abnormalities in males such as undescended testes (cryptorchidism) and a spine that curves to the side (scoliosis).

How common is isodicentric chromosome 15 syndrome?

Isodicentric chromosome 15 syndrome occurs in about 1 in 30,000 newborns.

What are the genetic changes related to isodicentric chromosome 15 syndrome?

Isodicentric chromosome 15 syndrome results from the presence of an abnormal extra chromosome, called an isodicentric chromosome 15, in each cell. An isodicentric chromosome contains mirror-image segments of genetic material and has two constriction points (centromeres), rather than one centromere as in normal chromosomes. In isodicentric chromosome 15 syndrome, the isodicentric chromosome is made up of two extra copies of a segment of genetic material from chromosome 15, attached end-to-end. Typically this copied genetic material includes a region of the chromosome called 15q11-q13.

Cells normally have two copies of each chromosome, one inherited from each parent. In people with isodicentric chromosome 15 syndrome, cells have the usual two copies of chromosome 15 plus the two extra copies of the segment of genetic material in the isodicentric chromosome. The extra genetic material disrupts the normal course of development, causing the characteristic features of this disorder. Some individuals with isodicentric chromosome 15 whose copied genetic material does not include the 15q11-q13 region do not show signs or symptoms of the condition.

Related Chromosome(s)

Changes involving this chromosome are associated with isodicentric chromosome 15 syndrome.

  • chromosome 15

Can isodicentric chromosome 15 syndrome be inherited?

Isodicentric chromosome 15 syndrome is usually not inherited. The chromosomal change that causes the disorder typically occurs as a random event during the formation of reproductive cells (eggs or sperm) in a parent of the affected individual. Most affected individuals have no history of the disorder in their family.

Where can I find information about diagnosis or management of isodicentric chromosome 15 syndrome?

These resources address the diagnosis or management of isodicentric chromosome 15 syndrome and may include treatment providers.

  • Autism Speaks: How is Autism Treated? (

You might also find information on the diagnosis or management of isodicentric chromosome 15 syndrome in Educational resources and Patient support.

General information about the diagnosis ( and management ( of genetic conditions is available in the Handbook.

To locate a healthcare provider, see How can I find a genetics professional in my area? ( in the Handbook.

Where can I find additional information about isodicentric chromosome 15 syndrome?

You may find the following resources about isodicentric chromosome 15 syndrome helpful. These materials are written for the general public.

You may also be interested in these resources, which are designed for healthcare professionals and researchers.

What other names do people use for isodicentric chromosome 15 syndrome?

  • duplication/inversion 15q11
  • idic(15)
  • inv dup(15)
  • inverted duplication 15
  • isodicentric chromosome 15
  • non-distal tetrasomy 15q

For more information about naming genetic conditions, see the Genetics Home Reference Condition Naming Guidelines ( and How are genetic conditions and genes named? ( in the Handbook.

What if I still have specific questions about isodicentric chromosome 15 syndrome?

Ask the Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center (

What glossary definitions help with understanding isodicentric chromosome 15 syndrome?

anxiety ; cell ; centromere ; chromosome ; cryptorchidism ; disability ; distal ; duplication ; echolalia ; esophagus ; gastroesophageal reflux ; hyperactivity ; inherited ; inversion ; motor ; muscle tone ; reproductive cells ; scoliosis ; spectrum ; sperm ; stomach ; strabismus ; syndrome ; testes ; tetrasomy

You may find definitions for these and many other terms in the Genetics Home Reference Glossary.


  • Battaglia A, Parrini B, Tancredi R. The behavioral phenotype of the idic(15) syndrome. Am J Med Genet C Semin Med Genet. 2010 Nov 15;154C(4):448-55. doi: 10.1002/ajmg.c.30281. (
  • Battaglia A. The inv dup(15) or idic(15) syndrome: a clinically recognisable neurogenetic disorder. Brain Dev. 2005 Aug;27(5):365-9. Epub 2005 Apr 22. Review. (
  • Battaglia A. The inv dup (15) or idic (15) syndrome (Tetrasomy 15q). Orphanet J Rare Dis. 2008 Nov 19;3:30. doi: 10.1186/1750-1172-3-30. Review. (
  • Hogart A, Wu D, LaSalle JM, Schanen NC. The comorbidity of autism with the genomic disorders of chromosome 15q11.2-q13. Neurobiol Dis. 2010 May;38(2):181-91. doi: 10.1016/j.nbd.2008.08.011. Epub 2008 Sep 18. Review. (
  • Kwasnicka-Crawford DA, Roberts W, Scherer SW. Characterization of an autism-associated segmental maternal heterodisomy of the chromosome 15q11-13 region. J Autism Dev Disord. 2007 Apr;37(4):694-702. (
  • Veenstra-VanderWeele J, Cook EH Jr. Molecular genetics of autism spectrum disorder. Mol Psychiatry. 2004 Sep;9(9):819-32. Review. (
  • Wang NJ, Parokonny AS, Thatcher KN, Driscoll J, Malone BM, Dorrani N, Sigman M, LaSalle JM, Schanen NC. Multiple forms of atypical rearrangements generating supernumerary derivative chromosome 15. BMC Genet. 2008 Jan 4;9:2. doi: 10.1186/1471-2156-9-2. (
  • Wolpert CM, Menold MM, Bass MP, Qumsiyeh MB, Donnelly SL, Ravan SA, Vance JM, Gilbert JR, Abramson RK, Wright HH, Cuccaro ML, Pericak-Vance MA. Three probands with autistic disorder and isodicentric chromosome 15. Am J Med Genet. 2000 Jun 12;96(3):365-72. Review. (


The resources on this site should not be used as a substitute for professional medical care or advice. Users seeking information about a personal genetic disease, syndrome, or condition should consult with a qualified healthcare professional. See How can I find a genetics professional in my area? ( in the Handbook.

Reviewed: September 2012
Published: February 8, 2016