[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Idiopathic generalized epilepsy (IGE) is a complex disease with high heritability, but little is known about its genetic architecture. Rare copy-number variants have been found to explain nearly 3% of individuals with IGE; however, it remains unclear whether variants with moderate effect size and frequencies below what are reliably detected with genome-wide association studies contribute significantly to disease risk. In this study, we compare the exome sequences of 118 individuals with IGE and 242 controls of European ancestry by using next-generation sequencing. The exome-sequenced epilepsy cases include study subjects with two forms of IGE, including juvenile myoclonic epilepsy (n = 93) and absence epilepsy (n = 25). However, our discovery strategy did not assume common genetic control between the subtypes of IGE considered. In the sequence data, as expected, no variants were significantly associated with the IGE phenotype or more specific IGE diagnoses. We then selected 3,897 candidate epilepsy-susceptibility variants from the sequence data and genotyped them in a larger set of 878 individuals with IGE and 1,830 controls. Again, no variant achieved statistical significance. However, 1,935 variants were observed exclusively in cases either as heterozygous or homozygous genotypes. It is likely that this set of variants includes real risk factors. The lack of significant association evidence of single variants with disease in this two-stage approach emphasizes the high genetic heterogeneity of epilepsy disorders, suggests that the impact of any individual single-nucleotide variant in this disease is small, and indicates that gene-based approaches might be more successful for future sequencing studies of epilepsy predisposition.
The American Journal of Human Genetics 08/2012; 91(2):293-302. · 11.20 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Schizophrenia is a severe psychiatric disorder with strong heritability and marked heterogeneity in symptoms, course, and treatment response. There is strong interest in identifying genetic risk factors that can help to elucidate the pathophysiology and that might result in the development of improved treatments. Linkage and genome-wide association studies (GWASs) suggest that the genetic basis of schizophrenia is heterogeneous. However, it remains unclear whether the underlying genetic variants are mostly moderately rare and can be identified by the genotyping of variants observed in sequenced cases in large follow-up cohorts or whether they will typically be much rarer and therefore more effectively identified by gene-based methods that seek to combine candidate variants. Here, we consider 166 persons who have schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder and who have had either their genomes or their exomes sequenced to high coverage. From these data, we selected 5,155 variants that were further evaluated in an independent cohort of 2,617 cases and 1,800 controls. No single variant showed a study-wide significant association in the initial or follow-up cohorts. However, we identified a number of case-specific variants, some of which might be real risk factors for schizophrenia, and these can be readily interrogated in other data sets. Our results indicate that schizophrenia risk is unlikely to be predominantly influenced by variants just outside the range detectable by GWASs. Rather, multiple rarer genetic variants must contribute substantially to the predisposition to schizophrenia, suggesting that both very large sample sizes and gene-based association tests will be required for securely identifying genetic risk factors.
The American Journal of Human Genetics 08/2012; 91(2):303-12. · 11.20 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We present the analysis of twenty human genomes to evaluate the prospects for identifying rare functional variants that contribute to a phenotype of interest. We sequenced at high coverage ten "case" genomes from individuals with severe hemophilia A and ten "control" genomes. We summarize the number of genetic variants emerging from a study of this magnitude, and provide a proof of concept for the identification of rare and highly-penetrant functional variants by confirming that the cause of hemophilia A is easily recognizable in this data set. We also show that the number of novel single nucleotide variants (SNVs) discovered per genome seems to stabilize at about 144,000 new variants per genome, after the first 15 individuals have been sequenced. Finally, we find that, on average, each genome carries 165 homozygous protein-truncating or stop loss variants in genes representing a diverse set of pathways.