Analyses of genome-wide association study (GWAS) data have revealed that detectable genetic mosaicism involving large (>2 Mb) structural autosomal alterations occurs in a fraction of individuals. We present results for a set of 24,849 genotyped individuals (total GWAS set II [TGSII]) in whom 341 large autosomal abnormalities were observed in 168 (0.68%) individuals. Merging data from the new TGSII set with data from two prior reports (the Gene-Environment Association Studies and the total GWAS set I) generated a large dataset of 127,179 individuals; we then conducted a meta-analysis to investigate the patterns of detectable autosomal mosaicism (n = 1,315 events in 925 [0.73%] individuals). Restricting to events >2 Mb in size, we observed an increase in event frequency as event size decreased. The combined results underscore that the rate of detectable mosaicism increases with age (p value = 5.5 × 10(-31)) and is higher in men (p value = 0.002) but lower in participants of African ancestry (p value = 0.003). In a subset of 47 individuals from whom serial samples were collected up to 6 years apart, complex changes were noted over time and showed an overall increase in the proportion of mosaic cells as age increased. Our large combined sample allowed for a unique ability to characterize detectable genetic mosaicism involving large structural events and strengthens the emerging evidence of non-random erosion of the genome in the aging population.
Exfoliation syndrome (XFS) is the most common recognizable cause of open-angle glaucoma worldwide. To better understand the etiology of XFS, we conducted a genome-wide association study (GWAS) of 1,484 cases and 1,188 controls from Japan and followed up the most significant findings in a further 6,901 cases and 20,727 controls from 17 countries across 6 continents. We discovered a genome-wide significant association between a new locus (CACNA1A rs4926244) and increased susceptibility to XFS (odds ratio (OR) = 1.16, P = 3.36 × 10(-11)). Although we also confirmed overwhelming association at the LOXL1 locus, the key SNP marker (LOXL1 rs4886776) demonstrated allelic reversal depending on the ancestry group (Japanese: ORA allele = 9.87, P = 2.13 × 10(-217); non-Japanese: ORA allele = 0.49, P = 2.35 × 10(-31)). Our findings represent the first genetic locus outside of LOXL1 surpassing genome-wide significance for XFS and provide insight into the biology and pathogenesis of the disease.
Recent studies have revealed that active enhancers are transcribed, producing a class of noncoding RNAs called enhancer RNAs (eRNAs). eRNAs are distinct from long noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs), but these two species of noncoding RNAs may share a similar role in the activation of mRNA transcription. Emerging studies, showing that eRNAs function in controlling mRNA transcription, challenge the idea that enhancers are merely sites of transcription factor assembly. Instead, communication between promoters and enhancers can be bidirectional with promoters required to activate enhancer transcription. Reciprocally, eRNAs may then facilitate enhancer-promoter interaction or activate promoter-driven transcription.
Several groups have reported the results of clinical trials of gene augmentation therapy for Leber congenital amaurosis (LCA) because of mutations in the RPE65 gene. These studies have used subretinal injection of adeno-associated virus (AAV) vectors to deliver the human RPE65 cDNA to the retinal pigment epithelial (RPE) cells of the treated eyes. In all of the studies reported to date, this approach has been shown to be both safe and effective. The successful clinical trials of gene augmentation therapy for retinal degeneration caused by mutations in the RPE65 gene sets the stage for broad application of gene therapy to treat retinal degenerative disorders.
MOTIVATION: All current mitochondrial haplogroup classification tools require variants to be detected from an alignment with the reference sequence and to be properly named according to the canonical nomenclature standards for describing mitochondrial variants, before they can be compared with the haplogroup determining polymorphisms. With the emergence of high-throughput sequencing technologies and hence greater availability of mitochondrial genome sequences, there is a strong need for an automated haplogroup classification tool that is alignment-free and agnostic to reference sequence. RESULTS: We have developed a novel mitochondrial genome haplogroup-defining algorithm using a k-mer approach namely Phy-Mer. Phy-Mer performs equally well as the leading haplogroup classifier, HaploGrep, while avoiding the errors that may occur when preparing variants to required formats and notations. We have further expanded Phy-Mer functionality such that next-generation sequencing data can be used directly as input. AVAILABILITY AND IMPLEMENTATION: Phy-Mer is publicly available under the GNU Affero General Public License v3.0 on GitHub (https://github.com/danielnavarrogomez/phy-mer). CONTACT: Xiaowu_Gai@meei.harvard.edu SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Supplementary data are available at Bioinformatics online.
PURPOSE: Next-generation sequencing-based methods are being adopted broadly for genetic diagnostic testing, but the performance characteristics of these techniques with regard to test accuracy and reproducibility have not been fully defined. METHODS: We developed a targeted enrichment and next-generation sequencing approach for genetic diagnostic testing of patients with inherited eye disorders, including inherited retinal degenerations, optic atrophy, and glaucoma. In preparation for providing this genetic eye disease (GEDi) test on a CLIA-certified basis, we performed experiments to measure the sensitivity, specificity, and reproducibility, as well as the clinical sensitivity, of the test. RESULTS: The GEDi test is highly reproducible and accurate, with sensitivity and specificity of 97.9 and 100%, respectively, for single-nucleotide variant detection. The sensitivity for variant detection was notably better than the 88.3% achieved by whole-exome sequencing using the same metrics, because of better coverage of targeted genes in the GEDi test as compared with a commercially available exome capture set. Prospective testing of 192 patients with inherited retinal degenerations indicated that the clinical sensitivity of the GEDi test is high, with a diagnostic rate of 51%. CONCLUSION: Based on quantified performance metrics, the data suggest that selective targeted enrichment is preferable to whole-exome sequencing for genetic diagnostic testing.Genet Med 17 4, 253-261.
PURPOSE: Mutations in genes encoding proteins from the tri-snRNP complex of the spliceosome account for more than 12% of cases of autosomal dominant retinitis pigmentosa (adRP). Although the exact mechanism by which splicing factor defects trigger photoreceptor death is not completely clear, their role in retinitis pigmentosa has been demonstrated by several genetic and functional studies. To test for possible novel associations between splicing factors and adRP, we screened four tri-snRNP splicing factor genes (EFTUD2, PRPF4, NHP2L1, and AAR2) as candidate disease genes. METHODS: We screened up to 303 patients with adRP from Europe and North America who did not carry known RP mutations. Exon-PCR and Sanger methods were used to sequence the NHP2L1 and AAR2 genes, while the sequences of EFTUD2 and PRPF4 were obtained by using long-range PCRs spanning coding and non-coding regions followed by next-generation sequencing. RESULTS: We detected novel missense changes in individual patients in the sequence of the genes PRPF4 and EFTUD2, but the role of these changes in relationship to disease could not be verified. In one other patient we identified a novel nucleotide substitution in the 5' untranslated region (UTR) of NHP2L1, which did not segregate with the disease in the family. CONCLUSIONS: The absence of clearly pathogenic mutations in the candidate genes screened in our cohort suggests that EFTUD2, PRPF4, NHP2L1, and AAR2 are either not involved in adRP or are associated with the disease in rare instances, at least as observed in this study in patients of European and North American origin.
PURPOSE: Patients with Usher syndrome type I (USH1) have retinitis pigmentosa, profound congenital hearing loss, and vestibular ataxia. This syndrome is currently thought to be associated with at least six genes, which are encoded by over 180 exons. Here, we present the use of state-of-the-art techniques in the molecular diagnosis of a cohort of 47 USH1 probands. METHODS: The cohort was studied with selective exon capture and next-generation sequencing of currently known inherited retinal degeneration genes, comparative genomic hybridization, and Sanger sequencing of new USH1 exons identified by human retinal transcriptome analysis. RESULTS: With this approach, we were able to genetically solve 14 of the 47 probands by confirming the biallelic inheritance of mutations. We detected two likely pathogenic variants in an additional 19 patients, for whom family members were not available for cosegregation analysis to confirm biallelic inheritance. Ten patients, in addition to primary disease-causing mutations, carried rare likely pathogenic USH1 alleles or variants in other genes associated with deaf-blindness, which may influence disease phenotype. Twenty-one of the identified mutations were novel among the 33 definite or likely solved patients. Here, we also present a clinical description of the studied cohort at their initial visits. CONCLUSIONS: We found a remarkable genetic heterogeneity in the studied USH1 cohort with multiplicity of mutations, of which many were novel. No obvious influence of genotype on phenotype was found, possibly due to small sample sizes of the genotypes under study.
FTO is the strongest known genetic susceptibility locus for obesity. Experimental studies in animals suggest the potential roles of FTO in regulating food intake. The interactive relation among FTO variants, dietary intake and body mass index (BMI) is complex and results from previous often small-scale studies in humans are highly inconsistent. We performed large-scale analyses based on data from 177 330 adults (154 439 Whites, 5776 African Americans and 17 115 Asians) from 40 studies to examine: (i) the association between the FTO-rs9939609 variant (or a proxy single-nucleotide polymorphism) and total energy and macronutrient intake and (ii) the interaction between the FTO variant and dietary intake on BMI. The minor allele (A-allele) of the FTO-rs9939609 variant was associated with higher BMI in Whites (effect per allele = 0.34 [0.31, 0.37] kg/m(2), P = 1.9 × 10(-105)), and all participants (0.30 [0.30, 0.35] kg/m(2), P = 3.6 × 10(-107)). The BMI-increasing allele of the FTO variant showed a significant association with higher dietary protein intake (effect per allele = 0.08 [0.06, 0.10] %, P = 2.4 × 10(-16)), and relative weak associations with lower total energy intake (-6.4 [-10.1, -2.6] kcal/day, P = 0.001) and lower dietary carbohydrate intake (-0.07 [-0.11, -0.02] %, P = 0.004). The associations with protein (P = 7.5 × 10(-9)) and total energy (P = 0.002) were attenuated but remained significant after adjustment for BMI. We did not find significant interactions between the FTO variant and dietary intake of total energy, protein, carbohydrate or fat on BMI. Our findings suggest a positive association between the BMI-increasing allele of FTO variant and higher dietary protein intake and offer insight into potential link between FTO, dietary protein intake and adiposity.
Osteogenesis imperfecta comprises a rare group of genetic disorders caused by abnormal collagen that results in increased bone fragility and other sequelae. We describe a 37-year-old woman with osteogenesis imperfecta in whom two full-thickness scleral perforations were created by adjacent teeth of 0.5 mm forceps during traction testing while undergoing routine strabismus surgery. This case reviews the ocular findings of osteogenesis imperfecta and highlights the potential risk of ocular surgical complications in these patients.