Geoffrey B Nilsen

University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, California, United States

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Publications (11)198 Total impact

  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Gene panels for hereditary breast and ovarian cancer risk assessment are gaining acceptance, even though the clinical utility of these panels is not yet fully defined. Technical questions remain, however, about the performance and clinical interpretation of gene panels in comparison with traditional tests. We tested 1105 individuals using a 29-gene next-generation sequencing panel and observed 100% analytical concordance with traditional and reference data on >750 comparable variants. These 750 variants included technically challenging classes of sequence and copy number variation that together represent a significant fraction (13.4%) of the pathogenic variants observed. For BRCA1 and BRCA2, we also compared variant interpretations in traditional reports to those produced using only non-proprietary resources and following criteria based on recent (2015) guidelines. We observed 99.8% net report concordance, albeit with a slightly higher variant of uncertain significance rate. In 4.5% of BRCA-negative cases, we uncovered pathogenic variants in other genes, which appear clinically relevant. Previously unseen variants requiring interpretation accumulated rapidly, even after 1000 individuals had been tested. We conclude that next-generation sequencing panel testing can provide results highly comparable to traditional testing and can uncover potentially actionable findings that may be otherwise missed. Challenges remain for the broad adoption of panel tests, some of which will be addressed by the accumulation of large public databases of annotated clinical variants. Copyright © 2015 American Society for Investigative Pathology and the Association for Molecular Pathology. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
    The Journal of molecular diagnostics: JMD 07/2015; 17(5). DOI:10.1016/j.jmoldx.2015.04.009 · 4.85 Impact Factor
  • Cancer Research 05/2015; 75(9 Supplement):P4-12-07-P4-12-07. DOI:10.1158/1538-7445.SABCS14-P4-12-07 · 9.33 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Asian nonsmoking populations have a higher incidence of lung cancer compared to their European counterparts. There is a long-standing hypothesis that the increase of lung cancer in Asian never-smokers is due to environmental factors such as second-hand smoke. We analyzed whole-genome sequencing of 30 Asian lung cancers. Unsupervised clustering of mutational signatures separated the patients into two categories of either all the never-smokers or all the smokers or ex-smokers. In addition, nearly one-third of the ex-smokers and smokers classified with the never-smoker-like cluster. The somatic variant profiles of Asian lung cancers were similar to that of European origin with G.C>T.A being predominant in smokers. We found EGFR and TP53 to be the most frequently mutated genes with mutations in 50% and 27% of individuals, respectively. Among the 16 never-smokers, 69% had an EGFR mutation compared to 29% of 14 smokers/ex-smokers. Asian never-smokers had lung cancer signatures distinct from the smoker signature and their mutation profiles were similar to European never-smokers. The profiles of Asian and European smokers are also similar. Taken together, these results suggested that the same mutational mechanisms underlie the etiology for both ethnic groups. Thus, the high incidence of lung cancer in Asian never-smokers seems unlikely to be due to second-hand smoke or other carcinogens that cause oxidative DNA damage, implying that routine EGFR testing is warranted in the Asian population regardless of smoking status.
    Cancer Research 09/2014; 74(21). DOI:10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-13-3195 · 9.33 Impact Factor
  • European Journal of Cancer 07/2014; 50:S113. DOI:10.1016/S0959-8049(14)50418-2 · 5.42 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Rapid advances in DNA sequencing promise to enable new diagnostics and individualized therapies. Achieving personalized medicine, however, will require extensive research on highly reidentifiable, integrated datasets of genomic and health information. To assist with this, participants in the Personal Genome Project choose to forgo privacy via our institutional review board- approved "open consent" process. The contribution of public data and samples facilitates both scientific discovery and standardization of methods. We present our findings after enrollment of more than 1,800 participants, including whole-genome sequencing of 10 pilot participant genomes (the PGP-10). We introduce the Genome-Environment-Trait Evidence (GET-Evidence) system. This tool automatically processes genomes and prioritizes both published and novel variants for interpretation. In the process of reviewing the presumed healthy PGP-10 genomes, we find numerous literature references implying serious disease. Although it is sometimes impossible to rule out a late-onset effect, stringent evidence requirements can address the high rate of incidental findings. To that end we develop a peer production system for recording and organizing variant evaluations according to standard evidence guidelines, creating a public forum for reaching consensus on interpretation of clinically relevant variants. Genome analysis becomes a two-step process: using a prioritized list to record variant evaluations, then automatically sorting reviewed variants using these annotations. Genome data, health and trait information, participant samples, and variant interpretations are all shared in the public domain-we invite others to review our results using our participant samples and contribute to our interpretations. We offer our public resource and methods to further personalized medical research.
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 07/2012; 109(30):11920-7. DOI:10.1073/pnas.1201904109 · 9.67 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Recent advances in whole-genome sequencing have brought the vision of personal genomics and genomic medicine closer to reality. However, current methods lack clinical accuracy and the ability to describe the context (haplotypes) in which genome variants co-occur in a cost-effective manner. Here we describe a low-cost DNA sequencing and haplotyping process, long fragment read (LFR) technology, which is similar to sequencing long single DNA molecules without cloning or separation of metaphase chromosomes. In this study, ten LFR libraries were made using only ∼100 picograms of human DNA per sample. Up to 97% of the heterozygous single nucleotide variants were assembled into long haplotype contigs. Removal of false positive single nucleotide variants not phased by multiple LFR haplotypes resulted in a final genome error rate of 1 in 10 megabases. Cost-effective and accurate genome sequencing and haplotyping from 10-20 human cells, as demonstrated here, will enable comprehensive genetic studies and diverse clinical applications.
    Nature 07/2012; 487(7406):190-5. DOI:10.1038/nature11236 · 41.46 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Many disease-susceptible SNPs exhibit significant disparity in ancestral and derived allele frequencies across worldwide populations. While previous studies have examined population differentiation of alleles at specific SNPs, global ethnic patterns of ensembles of disease risk alleles across human diseases are unexamined. To examine these patterns, we manually curated ethnic disease association data from 5,065 papers on human genetic studies representing 1,495 diseases, recording the precise risk alleles and their measured population frequencies and estimated effect sizes. We systematically compared the population frequencies of cross-ethnic risk alleles for each disease across 1,397 individuals from 11 HapMap populations, 1,064 individuals from 53 HGDP populations, and 49 individuals with whole-genome sequences from 10 populations. Type 2 diabetes (T2D) demonstrated extreme directional differentiation of risk allele frequencies across human populations, compared with null distributions of European-frequency matched control genomic alleles and risk alleles for other diseases. Most T2D risk alleles share a consistent pattern of decreasing frequencies along human migration into East Asia. Furthermore, we show that these patterns contribute to disparities in predicted genetic risk across 1,397 HapMap individuals, T2D genetic risk being consistently higher for individuals in the African populations and lower in the Asian populations, irrespective of the ethnicity considered in the initial discovery of risk alleles. We observed a similar pattern in the distribution of T2D Genetic Risk Scores, which are associated with an increased risk of developing diabetes in the Diabetes Prevention Program cohort, for the same individuals. This disparity may be attributable to the promotion of energy storage and usage appropriate to environments and inconsistent energy intake. Our results indicate that the differential frequencies of T2D risk alleles may contribute to the observed disparity in T2D incidence rates across ethnic populations.
    PLoS Genetics 04/2012; 8(4):e1002621. DOI:10.1371/journal.pgen.1002621 · 7.53 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Unchained base reads on self-assembling DNA nanoarrays have recently emerged as a promising approach to low-cost, high-quality resequencing of human genomes. Because of unique characteristics of these mated pair reads, existing computational methods for resequencing assembly, such as those based on map-consensus calling, are not adequate for accurate variant calling. We describe novel computational methods developed for accurate calling of SNPs and short substitutions and indels (<100 bp); the same methods apply to evaluation of hypothesized larger, structural variations. We use an optimization process that iteratively adjusts the genome sequence to maximize its a posteriori probability given the observed reads. For each candidate sequence, this probability is computed using Bayesian statistics with a simple read generation model and simplifying assumptions that make the problem computationally tractable. The optimization process iteratively applies one-base substitutions, insertions, and deletions until convergence is achieved to an optimum diploid sequence. A local de novo assembly procedure that generalizes approaches based on De Bruijn graphs is used to seed the optimization process in order to reduce the chance of converging to local optima. Finally, a correlation-based filter is applied to reduce the false positive rate caused by the presence of repetitive regions in the reference genome.
    Journal of computational biology: a journal of computational molecular cell biology 12/2011; 19(3):279-92. DOI:10.1089/cmb.2011.0201 · 1.74 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Genome sequencing of large numbers of individuals promises to advance the understanding, treatment, and prevention of human diseases, among other applications. We describe a genome sequencing platform that achieves efficient imaging and low reagent consumption with combinatorial probe anchor ligation chemistry to independently assay each base from patterned nanoarrays of self-assembling DNA nanoballs. We sequenced three human genomes with this platform, generating an average of 45- to 87-fold coverage per genome and identifying 3.2 to 4.5 million sequence variants per genome. Validation of one genome data set demonstrates a sequence accuracy of about 1 false variant per 100 kilobases. The high accuracy, affordable cost of $4400 for sequencing consumables, and scalability of this platform enable complete human genome sequencing for the detection of rare variants in large-scale genetic studies.
    Science 11/2009; 327(5961):78-81. DOI:10.1126/science.1181498 · 33.61 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: A dense map of genetic variation in the laboratory mouse genome will provide insights into the evolutionary history of the species and lead to an improved understanding of the relationship between inter-strain genotypic and phenotypic differences. Here we resequence the genomes of four wild-derived and eleven classical strains. We identify 8.27 million high-quality single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) densely distributed across the genome, and determine the locations of the high (divergent subspecies ancestry) and low (common subspecies ancestry) SNP-rate intervals for every pairwise combination of classical strains. Using these data, we generate a genome-wide haplotype map containing 40,898 segments, each with an average of three distinct ancestral haplotypes. For the haplotypes in the classical strains that are unequivocally assigned ancestry, the genetic contributions of the Mus musculus subspecies--M. m. domesticus, M. m. musculus, M. m. castaneus and the hybrid M. m. molossinus--are 68%, 6%, 3% and 10%, respectively; the remaining 13% of haplotypes are of unknown ancestral origin. The considerable regional redundancy of the SNP data will facilitate imputation of the majority of these genotypes in less-densely typed classical inbred strains to provide a complete view of variation in additional strains.
    Nature 09/2007; 448(7157):1050-3. DOI:10.1038/nature06067 · 41.46 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Individual differences in DNA sequence are the genetic basis of human variability. We have characterized whole-genome patterns of common human DNA variation by genotyping 1,586,383 single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in 71 Americans of European, African, and Asian ancestry. Our results indicate that these SNPs capture most common genetic variation as a result of linkage disequilibrium, the correlation among common SNP alleles. We observe a strong correlation between extended regions of linkage disequilibrium and functional genomic elements. Our data provide a tool for exploring many questions that remain regarding the causal role of common human DNA variation in complex human traits and for investigating the nature of genetic variation within and between human populations.
    Science 03/2005; 307(5712):1072-9. DOI:10.1126/science.1105436 · 33.61 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

2k Citations
198.00 Total Impact Points


  • 2015
    • University of California, San Francisco
      San Francisco, California, United States
  • 2014
    • Mountain View Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
      Menlo Park, California, United States