ATR-16 Syndrome

National Organization for Rare Disorders, Inc.

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It is possible that the main title of the report ATR-16 Syndrome is not the name you expected. Please check the synonyms listing to find the alternate name(s) and disorder subdivision(s) covered by this report.


  • Alpha-Thalassemia-Intellectual Disability Syndrome, Chromosome 16-Related
  • Alpha-Thalassemia-Intellectual Disability Syndrome, Deletion Type

Disorder Subdivisions

  • None

General Discussion


ATR-16 syndrome is an extremely rare genetic disorder in which affected individuals have a large loss of genetic material (monosomy) on chromosome 16 in which several adjacent genes are lost. Symptoms include intellectual disability, clubfoot, head circumference that is smaller than would be expected based upon an infant's age and gender (microcephaly), and alpha thalassemia, a blood disorder characterized in this disorder by reduced levels of functional hemoglobin. Hemoglobin, a protein that is found in red blood cells, is responsible for carrying oxygen throughout the body via the blood. Some affected infants have distinctive facial features including eyes that are spaced apart farther than usual (hypertelorism), a broad, prominent bridge of the nose, small ears, and a short neck. ATR-16 syndrome is a contiguous gene syndrome, in which the loss of genetic material on chromosome 16 causes the loss of function of several adjacent genes. ATR-16 syndrome occurs as a spontaneous (de novo) event with no previous family history or in parents with a balanced chromosomal translocation that is inherited in an unbalanced manner.


The uncommon combination of alpha thalassemia and intellectual disability was first reported in the medical literature in 1981 by Dr. Weatherall, et al. Since that original description, two distinct syndromes have been defined through additional case reports in the medical literature. One is alpha thalassemia X-linked intellectual disability or ATR-X syndrome. NORD has a separate report on this disorder in the Rare Disease Database. The other is ATR-16 syndrome, the subject of this report.

Supporting Organizations

Genetic and Rare Diseases (GARD) Information Center

PO Box 8126
Gaithersburg, MD 20898-8126
Tel: (301)251-4925
Fax: (301)251-4911
Tel: (888)205-2311

NIH/National Institute of Mental Health

Health Science Writing, Press and Dissemination Branch
6001 Executive Boulevard
Bethesda, MD 20892-9663
Tel: (301)443-4513
Fax: (301)443-4279
Tel: (866)615-6464

Thalassemia Support Foundation

PO Box 26398
Santa Ana, CA 92799

The Arc

1825 K Street NW, Suite 1200
Washington, DC 20006
Tel: (202)534-3700
Fax: (202)534-3731
Tel: (800)433-5255

For a Complete Report

This is an abstract of a report from the National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD). A copy of the complete report can be downloaded free from the NORD website for registered users. The complete report contains additional information including symptoms, causes, affected population, related disorders, standard and investigational therapies (if available), and references from medical literature. For a full-text version of this topic, go to and click on Rare Disease Database under "Rare Disease Information".

The information provided in this report is not intended for diagnostic purposes. It is provided for informational purposes only. NORD recommends that affected individuals seek the advice or counsel of their own personal physicians.

It is possible that the title of this topic is not the name you selected. Please check the Synonyms listing to find the alternate name(s) and Disorder Subdivision(s) covered by this report

This disease entry is based upon medical information available through the date at the end of the topic. Since NORD's resources are limited, it is not possible to keep every entry in the Rare Disease Database completely current and accurate. Please check with the agencies listed in the Resources section for the most current information about this disorder.

For additional information and assistance about rare disorders, please contact the National Organization for Rare Disorders at P.O. Box 1968, Danbury, CT 06813-1968; phone (203) 744-0100; web site or email

Last Updated:  12/27/1969
Copyright  2015 National Organization for Rare Disorders, Inc.