Rapid whole-genome sequencing for genetic disease diagnosis in neonatal intensive care units.

Center for Pediatric Genomic Medicine, Children's Mercy Hospital, Kansas City, MO 64108, USA.
Science translational medicine (Impact Factor: 14.41). 10/2012; 4(154):154ra135. DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.3004041
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Monogenic diseases are frequent causes of neonatal morbidity and mortality, and disease presentations are often undifferentiated at birth. More than 3500 monogenic diseases have been characterized, but clinical testing is available for only some of them and many feature clinical and genetic heterogeneity. Hence, an immense unmet need exists for improved molecular diagnosis in infants. Because disease progression is extremely rapid, albeit heterogeneous, in newborns, molecular diagnoses must occur quickly to be relevant for clinical decision-making. We describe 50-hour differential diagnosis of genetic disorders by whole-genome sequencing (WGS) that features automated bioinformatic analysis and is intended to be a prototype for use in neonatal intensive care units. Retrospective 50-hour WGS identified known molecular diagnoses in two children. Prospective WGS disclosed potential molecular diagnosis of a severe GJB2-related skin disease in one neonate; BRAT1-related lethal neonatal rigidity and multifocal seizure syndrome in another infant; identified BCL9L as a novel, recessive visceral heterotaxy gene (HTX6) in a pedigree; and ruled out known candidate genes in one infant. Sequencing of parents or affected siblings expedited the identification of disease genes in prospective cases. Thus, rapid WGS can potentially broaden and foreshorten differential diagnosis, resulting in fewer empirical treatments and faster progression to genetic and prognostic counseling.

  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Despite the potential of whole-genome sequencing (WGS) to improve patient diagnosis and care, the empirical value of WGS in the cancer genetics clinic is unknown. We performed WGS on members of two cohorts of cancer genetics patients: those with BRCA1/2 mutations (n = 176) and those without (n = 82). Initial analysis of potentially pathogenic variants (PPVs, defined as nonsynonymous variants with allele frequency < 1% in ESP6500) in 163 clinically-relevant genes suggested that WGS will provide useful clinical results. This is despite the fact that a majority of PPVs were novel missense variants likely to be classified as variants of unknown significance (VUS). Furthermore, previously reported pathogenic missense variants did not always associate with their predicted diseases in our patients. This suggests that the clinical use of WGS will require large-scale efforts to consolidate WGS and patient data to improve accuracy of interpretation of rare variants. While loss-of-function (LoF) variants represented only a small fraction of PPVs, WGS identified additional cancer risk LoF PPVs in patients with known BRCA1/2 mutations and led to cancer risk diagnoses in 21% of non-BRCA cancer genetics patients after expanding our analysis to 3209 ClinVar genes. These data illustrate how WGS can be used to improve our ability to discover patients' cancer genetic risks.
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The primary sequence of DNA can be decoded a million times faster and cheaper than it could 20 years ago. This capability is transforming our understanding of biology and has stimulated efforts to influence modern medicine through routine sequencing of human genomes. I describe how Solexa-Illumina sequencing originated from our laboratory and was developed into widely used commercial sequencing platforms. I also discuss examples of how this approach is being employed to exploit genome sequencing for medicine.
    Biochemical Society Transactions 02/2015; 43(1):1-5. DOI:10.1042/BST20140254 · 3.24 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Background. Most genetic disorders are caused by single nucleotide variations (SNVs) or small insertion/deletions (indels). High throughput sequencing has broadened the catalogue of human variation, including common polymorphisms, rare variations or disease causing mutations. However, identifying one variation among hundreds or thousands of others is still a complex task for biologists, geneticists and clinicians. Results. We have developed VaRank, a command-line tool for the ranking of genetic variants detected by high-throughput sequencing. VaRank scores and prioritizes variants annotated either by Alamut Batch or SnpEff. A barcode allows users to quickly view the presence/absence of variants (with homozygote/heterozygote status) in analyzed samples. VaRank supports the commonly used VCF input format for variants analysis thus allowing it to be easily integrated into NGS bioinformatics analysis pipelines. VaRank has been successfully applied to disease-gene identification as well as to molecular diagnostics setup for several hundred patients. Conclusions. VaRank is implemented in Tcl/Tk, a scripting language which is platform-independent but has been tested only on Unix environment. The source code is available under the GNU GPL, and together with sample data and detailed documentation can be downloaded from
    03/2015; 3:e796. DOI:10.7717/peerj.796

Full-text (3 Sources)

Available from
May 20, 2014