Meckel syndrome is a very severe disorder that is characterized by multiple cysts on the kidneys, protrusion of a portion of the brain through an opening in the skull (occipital encephalocele), and extra fingers or toes (polydactyly). Affected children may also have abnormalities affecting the head and face, liver, lungs, genitals, and urinary tract. Because of these serious health problems, most infants with Meckel syndrome do not survive for long after birth. Meckel syndrome is caused by mutations in one of eight genes, and it is inherited in an autosomal-recessive manner.
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