Submitted Successfully!
To reward your contribution, here is a gift for you: A free trial for our video production service.
Thank you for your contribution! You can also upload a video entry or images related to this topic.
Version Summary Created by Modification Content Size Created at Operation
1 + 958 word(s) 958 2020-12-15 08:15:23

Video Upload Options

Do you have a full video?


Are you sure to Delete?
If you have any further questions, please contact Encyclopedia Editorial Office.
Tang, P. Chromosome 6. Encyclopedia. Available online: (accessed on 17 April 2024).
Tang P. Chromosome 6. Encyclopedia. Available at: Accessed April 17, 2024.
Tang, Peter. "Chromosome 6" Encyclopedia, (accessed April 17, 2024).
Tang, P. (2020, December 24). Chromosome 6. In Encyclopedia.
Tang, Peter. "Chromosome 6." Encyclopedia. Web. 24 December, 2020.
Chromosome 6

Humans normally have 46 chromosomes in each cell, divided into 23 pairs. Two copies of chromosome 6, one copy inherited from each parent, form one of the pairs.

chromosomes & mtDNA

1. Introduction

Chromosome 6 spans about 171 million DNA building blocks (base pairs) and represents between 5.5 and 6 percent of the total DNA in cells.

Identifying genes on each chromosome is an active area of genetic research. Because researchers use different approaches to predict the number of genes on each chromosome, the estimated number of genes varies. Chromosome 6 likely contains 1,000 to 1,100 genes that provide instructions for making proteins. These proteins perform a variety of different roles in the body.

2. Health Conditions Related to Chromosomal Changes

2.1. 6q24-related transient neonatal diabetes mellitus

6q24-related transient neonatal diabetes mellitus, a type of diabetes that occurs in infants, is caused by the overactivity (overexpression) of certain genes in a region of the long (q) arm of chromosome 6 called 6q24. People inherit two copies of their genes, one from their mother and one from their father. Usually both copies of each gene are active, or "turned on," in cells. In some cases, however, only one of the two copies is normally turned on. Which copy is active depends on the parent of origin: some genes are normally active only when they are inherited from a person's father; others are active only when inherited from a person's mother. This phenomenon is known as genomic imprinting.

The 6q24 region includes paternally expressed imprinted genes, which means that normally only the copy of each gene that comes from the father is active. The copy of each gene that comes from the mother is inactivated (silenced) by a mechanism called methylation.

There are three ways that overexpression of paternally expressed imprinted genes in the 6q24 region can occur. About 40 percent of cases of 6q24-related transient neonatal diabetes mellitus are caused by a genetic change known as paternal uniparental disomy (UPD) of chromosome 6. In paternal UPD, people inherit both copies of the affected chromosome from their father instead of one copy from each parent. Paternal UPD causes people to have two active copies of paternally expressed imprinted genes, rather than one active copy from the father and one inactive copy from the mother.

Another 40 percent of cases of 6q24-related transient neonatal diabetes mellitus occur when the copy of chromosome 6 that comes from the father has a duplication of genetic material including the paternally expressed imprinted genes in the 6q24 region.

The third mechanism by which overexpression of genes in the 6q24 region can occur is by impaired silencing of the maternal copy of the genes (maternal hypomethylation). Approximately 20 percent of cases of 6q24-related transient neonatal diabetes mellitus are caused by maternal hypomethylation. Some people with this disorder have a genetic change in the maternal copy of the 6q24 region that prevents genes in that region from being silenced. Other affected individuals have a more generalized impairment of gene silencing involving many imprinted regions, called hypomethylation of imprinted loci (HIL). Because HIL can cause overexpression of many genes, this mechanism may account for the additional health problems that occur in some people with 6q24-related transient neonatal diabetes mellitus.

It is not well understood how overexpression of genes in the 6q24 region causes 6q24-related transient neonatal diabetes mellitus and why the condition improves after infancy. This form of diabetes is characterized by high blood sugar levels (hyperglycemia) resulting from a shortage of the hormone insulin. Insulin controls how much glucose (a type of sugar) is passed from the blood into cells for conversion to energy.

The protein produced from one gene in the 6q24 region may help control insulin secretion by beta cells in the pancreas. In addition, overexpression of this protein has been shown to stop the cycle of cell division and lead to the self-destruction of cells (apoptosis). Researchers suggest that overexpression of this gene may reduce the number of insulin-secreting beta cells or impair their function in affected individuals.

Lack of sufficient insulin results in the signs and symptoms of diabetes mellitus. In individuals with 6q24-related transient neonatal diabetes mellitus, these signs and symptoms are most likely to occur during times of physiologic stress, including the rapid growth of infancy, childhood illnesses, and pregnancy. Because insulin acts as a growth promoter during early development, a shortage of this hormone may account for the slow growth before birth (intrauterine growth retardation) seen in 6q24-related transient neonatal diabetes mellitus.

2.2. Other chromosomal conditions

Other changes in the number or structure of chromosome 6 can have a variety of effects, including delayed growth and development, intellectual disability, distinctive facial features, birth defects, and other health problems. Changes to chromosome 6 may include deletions or duplications of genetic material in the short (p) or long (q) arm of the chromosome in each cell, or a circular structure called ring chromosome 6. Ring chromosomes occur when a chromosome breaks in two places and the ends of the chromosome arms fuse together to form a circular structure.

2.3. Cancers

Duplications of genetic material in the short (p) arm of chromosome 6 have been associated with the growth and spread of several types of cancer. These duplications are somatic, which means they are acquired during a person's lifetime and are present only in certain cells. Researchers believe that some of the genes in the duplicated region on chromosome 6p are oncogenes. Oncogenes play roles in several critical cell functions, including cell division, the maturation of cells to carry out specific functions (cell differentiation), and the self-destruction of cells (apoptosis). When mutated, oncogenes have the potential to cause normal cells to become cancerous. The presence of extra copies of the oncogenes may allow cells to grow and divide in an uncontrolled way, leading to the progression and spread of cancer.


  1. Andrieux J, Devisme L, Valat AS, Robert Y, Frnka C, Savary JB. Prenataldiagnosis of ring chromosome 6 in a fetus with cerebellar hypoplasia and partial agenesis of corpus callosum: case report and review of the literature. Eur J Med Genet. 2005 Apr-Jun;48(2):199-206.
  2. Diatloff-Zito C, Nicole A, Marcelin G, Labit H, Marquis E, Bellanné-Chantelot C, Robert JJ. Genetic and epigenetic defects at the 6q24 imprinted locus in acohort of 13 patients with transient neonatal diabetes: new hypothesis raised by the finding of a unique case with hemizygotic deletion in the critical region. J Med Genet. 2007 Jan;44(1):31-7.
  3. Docherty LE, Poole RL, Mattocks CJ, Lehmann A, Temple IK, Mackay DJ. Furtherrefinement of the critical minimal genetic region for the imprinting disorder6q24 transient neonatal diabetes. Diabetologia. 2010 Nov;53(11):2347-51. doi:10.1007/s00125-010-1853-2.
  4. Gilbert F. Chromosome 6. Genet Test. 2002 Winter;6(4):341-58.
  5. Lin RJ, Cherry AM, Chen KC, Lyons M, Hoyme HE, Hudgins L. Terminal deletion of6p results in a recognizable phenotype. Am J Med Genet A. 2005 Jul15;136(2):162-8. Review.
  6. Mungall AJ, Palmer SA, Sims SK, Edwards CA, Ashurst JL, Wilming L, Jones MC,Horton R, Hunt SE, Scott CE, Gilbert JG, Clamp ME, Bethel G, Milne S, AinscoughR, Almeida JP, Ambrose KD, Andrews TD, Ashwell RI, Babbage AK, Bagguley CL,Bailey J, Banerjee R, Barker DJ, Barlow KF, Bates K, Beare DM, Beasley H, BeasleyO, Bird CP, Blakey S, Bray-Allen S, Brook J, Brown AJ, Brown JY, Burford DC,Burrill W, Burton J, Carder C, Carter NP, Chapman JC, Clark SY, Clark G, Clee CM,Clegg S, Cobley V, Collier RE, Collins JE, Colman LK, Corby NR, Coville GJ,Culley KM, Dhami P, Davies J, Dunn M, Earthrowl ME, Ellington AE, Evans KA,Faulkner L, Francis MD, Frankish A, Frankland J, French L, Garner P, Garnett J,Ghori MJ, Gilby LM, Gillson CJ, Glithero RJ, Grafham DV, Grant M, Gribble S,Griffiths C, Griffiths M, Hall R, Halls KS, Hammond S, Harley JL, Hart EA, Heath PD, Heathcott R, Holmes SJ, Howden PJ, Howe KL, Howell GR, Huckle E, Humphray SJ,Humphries MD, Hunt AR, Johnson CM, Joy AA, Kay M, Keenan SJ, Kimberley AM, KingA, Laird GK, Langford C, Lawlor S, Leongamornlert DA, Leversha M, Lloyd CR, LloydDM, Loveland JE, Lovell J, Martin S, Mashreghi-Mohammadi M, Maslen GL, MatthewsL, McCann OT, McLaren SJ, McLay K, McMurray A, Moore MJ, Mullikin JC, Niblett D, Nickerson T, Novik KL, Oliver K, Overton-Larty EK, Parker A, Patel R, Pearce AV, Peck AI, Phillimore B, Phillips S, Plumb RW, Porter KM, Ramsey Y, Ranby SA, Rice CM, Ross MT, Searle SM, Sehra HK, Sheridan E, Skuce CD, Smith S, Smith M,Spraggon L, Squares SL, Steward CA, Sycamore N, Tamlyn-Hall G, Tester J, Theaker AJ, Thomas DW, Thorpe A, Tracey A, Tromans A, Tubby B, Wall M, Wallis JM, WestAP, White SS, Whitehead SL, Whittaker H, Wild A, Willey DJ, Wilmer TE, Wood JM,Wray PW, Wyatt JC, Young L, Younger RM, Bentley DR, Coulson A, Durbin R, Hubbard T, Sulston JE, Dunham I, Rogers J, Beck S. The DNA sequence and analysis of humanchromosome 6. Nature. 2003 Oct 23;425(6960):805-11.
  7. Pivnick EK, Qumsiyeh MB, Tharapel AT, Summitt JB, Wilroy RS. Partialduplication of the long arm of chromosome 6: a clinically recognisable syndrome. J Med Genet. 1990 Aug;27(8):523-6. Review.
  8. Santos GC, Zielenska M, Prasad M, Squire JA. Chromosome 6p amplification andcancer progression. J Clin Pathol. 2007 Jan;60(1):1-7.
  9. Temple IK, Mackay DJG. Diabetes Mellitus, 6q24-Related Transient Neonatal.2005 Oct 10 [updated 2018 Sep 13]. In: Adam MP, Ardinger HH, Pagon RA, WallaceSE, Bean LJH, Stephens K, Amemiya A, editors. GeneReviews® [Internet]. Seattle(WA): University of Washington, Seattle; 1993-2020. Available from
  10. Temple IK, Shield JP. 6q24 transient neonatal diabetes. Rev Endocr MetabDisord. 2010 Sep;11(3):199-204. doi: 10.1007/s11154-010-9150-4. Review.
  11. Urban M, Bommer C, Tennstedt C, Lehmann K, Thiel G, Wegner RD, Bollmann R,Becker R, Schulzke I, Körner H. Ring chromosome 6 in three fetuses: case reports,literature review, and implications for prenatal diagnosis. Am J Med Genet. 2002 Mar 1;108(2):97-104. Review.
  12. Zherebtsov MM, Klein RT, Aviv H, Toruner GA, Hanna NN, Brooks SS. Furtherdelineation of interstitial chromosome 6 deletion syndrome and review of theliterature. Clin Dysmorphol. 2007 Jul;16(3):135-40. Review.
Contributor MDPI registered users' name will be linked to their SciProfiles pages. To register with us, please refer to :
View Times: 360
Entry Collection: MedlinePlus
Revision: 1 time (View History)
Update Date: 24 Dec 2020