Genome sequencing identifies major causes of severe intellectual disability
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SourceNature, 511, 7509, (2014), pp. 344-7
Article / Letter to editor
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Primary and Community Care
SubjectRadboudumc 0: Other Research DCMN: Donders Center for Medical Neuroscience; Radboudumc 12: Sensory disorders RIMLS: Radboud Institute for Molecular Life Sciences; Radboudumc 7: Neurodevelopmental disorders DCMN: Donders Center for Medical Neuroscience; Radboudumc 7: Neurodevelopmental disorders RIMLS: Radboud Institute for Molecular Life Sciences
Severe intellectual disability (ID) occurs in 0.5% of newborns and is thought to be largely genetic in origin. The extensive genetic heterogeneity of this disorder requires a genome-wide detection of all types of genetic variation. Microarray studies and, more recently, exome sequencing have demonstrated the importance of de novo copy number variations (CNVs) and single-nucleotide variations (SNVs) in ID, but the majority of cases remain undiagnosed. Here we applied whole-genome sequencing to 50 patients with severe ID and their unaffected parents. All patients included had not received a molecular diagnosis after extensive genetic prescreening, including microarray-based CNV studies and exome sequencing. Notwithstanding this prescreening, 84 de novo SNVs affecting the coding region were identified, which showed a statistically significant enrichment of loss-of-function mutations as well as an enrichment for genes previously implicated in ID-related disorders. In addition, we identified eight de novo CNVs, including single-exon and intra-exonic deletions, as well as interchromosomal duplications. These CNVs affected known ID genes more frequently than expected. On the basis of diagnostic interpretation of all de novo variants, a conclusive genetic diagnosis was reached in 20 patients. Together with one compound heterozygous CNV causing disease in a recessive mode, this results in a diagnostic yield of 42% in this extensively studied cohort, and 62% as a cumulative estimate in an unselected cohort. These results suggest that de novo SNVs and CNVs affecting the coding region are a major cause of severe ID. Genome sequencing can be applied as a single genetic test to reliably identify and characterize the comprehensive spectrum of genetic variation, providing a genetic diagnosis in the majority of patients with severe ID.
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