Silver–Russell and Beckwith–Wiedemann syndromes (SRS, BWS) are rare congenital human disorders characterized by opposite growth disturbances. With the increasing knowledge on the molecular basis of SRS and BWS, it has become obvious that the disorders mirror opposite alterations at the same genomic loci in 11p15.5. In fact, these changes directly or indirectly affect the expression of IGF2
and their associated pathways, and thereby, cause growth disturbances as key features of both diseases. The increase of knowledge has become possible with the development and implementation of new and comprehensive assays. Whereas, in the beginning molecular testing was restricted to single chromosomal loci, many tests now address numerous loci in the same run, and the diagnostic implementation of (epi)genome wide assays is only a question of time. These high-throughput approaches will be complemented by the analysis of other omic
datasets (e.g., transcriptome, metabolome, proteome), and it can be expected that the integration of these data will massively improve the understanding of the pathobiology of imprinting disorders and their diagnostics. Especially long-read sequencing methods, e.g., nanopore sequencing, allowing direct detection of native DNA modification, will strongly contribute to a better understanding of genomic imprinting in the near future. Thereby, new genomic loci and types of pathogenic variants will be identified, resulting in more precise discrimination into different molecular subgroups. These subgroups serve as the basis for (epi)genotype–phenotype correlations, allowing a more directed prognosis, counseling, and therapy. By deciphering the pathophysiological consequences of SRS and BWS and their molecular disturbances, future therapies will be available targeting the basic cause of the disease and respective pathomechanisms and will complement conventional therapeutic strategies.
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