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Reassessment of Mendelian gene pathogenicity using 7,855 cardiomyopathy cases and 60,706 reference samples

By Roddy Walsh, Kate L Thomson, James S Ware, Birgit H Funke, Jessica Woodley, Karen J McGuire, Francesco Mazzarotto, Edward Blair, Anneke Seller, Jenny C Taylor, Eric Vallabh Minikel, Exome Aggregation Consortium, Daniel G MacArthur, Martin Farrall, Stuart A. Cook, Hugh C Watkins

Posted 24 Feb 2016
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/041111 (published DOI: 10.1038/gim.2016.90)

The accurate interpretation of variation in Mendelian disease genes has lagged behind data generation as sequencing has become increasingly accessible. Ongoing large sequencing efforts present huge interpretive challenges, but also provide an invaluable opportunity to characterize the spectrum and importance of rare variation. Here we analyze sequence data from 7,855 clinical cardiomyopathy cases and 60,706 ExAC reference samples to better understand genetic variation in a representative autosomal dominant disorder. We show that in some genes previously reported as important causes of a given cardiomyopathy, rare variation is not clinically informative and there is a high likelihood of false positive interpretation. By contrast, in other genes, we find that diagnostic laboratories may be overly conservative when assessing variant pathogenicity. We outline improved interpretation approaches for specific genes and variant classes and propose that these will increase the clinical utility of testing across a range of Mendelian diseases.

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