Deletions spanning chromosome 5q31.2 are among the most common recurring cytogenetic abnormalities detectable in myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS). Prior genomic studies have suggested that haploinsufficiency of multiple 5q31.2 genes may contribute to MDS pathogenesis. However, this hypothesis has never been formally tested. Therefore, we designed this study to systematically and comprehensively evaluate all 28 chromosome 5q31.2 genes and directly test whether haploinsufficiency of a single 5q31.2 gene may result from a heterozygous nucleotide mutation or microdeletion. We selected paired tumor (bone marrow) and germline (skin) DNA samples from 46 de novo MDS patients (37 without a cytogenetic 5q31.2 deletion) and performed total exonic gene resequencing (479 amplicons) and array comparative genomic hybridization (CGH). We found no somatic nucleotide changes in the 46 MDS samples, and no cytogenetically silent 5q31.2 deletions in 20/20 samples analyzed by array CGH. Twelve novel single nucleotide polymorphisms were discovered. The mRNA levels of 7 genes in the commonly deleted interval were reduced by 50% in CD34+ cells from del(5q) MDS samples, and no gene showed complete loss of expression. Taken together, these data show that small deletions and/or point mutations in individual 5q31.2 genes are not common events in MDS, and implicate haploinsufficiency of multiple genes as the relevant genetic consequence of this common deletion.