- PAX7 encodes a transcription factor essential in neural crest formation, myogenesis, and pituitary lineage specification. Pax7 null mice fail to thrive and exhibit muscle weakness, dying within 3 weeks. We describe a human autosomal-recessive syndrome, with failure to thrive, severe global developmental delay, microcephaly, axial hypotonia, pyramidal signs, dystonic postures, seizures, irritability, and self-mutilation. Aside from low blood carnitine levels, biochemical and metabolic screen was normal, with growth hormone deficiency in one patient. Electromyography was normal, with no specific findings in brain MRI/MRS yet nondemonstrable neuropituitary, a finding of unclear significance. Muscle biopsy showed unaffected overall organization of muscle fibers, yet positive fetal alpha myosin staining, suggesting regeneration. Homozygosity mapping with whole-exome sequencing identified a single disease-associated mutation in PAX7, segregating as expected in the kindred with no homozygosity in 200 ethnically matched controls. Transfection experiments showed that the PAX7 splice-site mutation putatively causes nonsense-mediated mRNA decay affecting onlyPAX7 isoform 3. This isoform, expressed specifically in brain, skeletal muscle and testes, is the sole Pax7 variant normally found in mice. The human muscle phenotype is in line with that in conditional Pax7 null mutant mice, where initial aberrant histological findings resolve postnatally through muscle regeneration.