Quantifying the contribution of recessive coding variation to developmental disorders

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Science  07 Dec 2018:
Vol. 362, Issue 6419, pp. 1161-1164
DOI: 10.1126/science.aar6731

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Genetic architecture of developmental disorders

The genetics of developmental disorders (DDs) is complex. Martin et al. wanted to determine the degree of recessive inheritance of DDs in protein-coding genes. They examined the exomes of more than 6000 families in populations with high and low proportions of consanguineous marriages. They found that 3.6% of DDs in individuals of European ancestry involved recessive coding disorders, less than a tenth of the levels previously estimated. Furthermore, among South Asians with high parental relatedness, rather than most of the disorders arising from inherited variants, fewer than half had a recessive coding diagnosis.

Science, this issue p. 1161


We estimated the genome-wide contribution of recessive coding variation in 6040 families from the Deciphering Developmental Disorders study. The proportion of cases attributable to recessive coding variants was 3.6% in patients of European ancestry, compared with 50% explained by de novo coding mutations. It was higher (31%) in patients with Pakistani ancestry, owing to elevated autozygosity. Half of this recessive burden is attributable to known genes. We identified two genes not previously associated with recessive developmental disorders, KDM5B and EIF3F, and functionally validated them with mouse and cellular models. Our results suggest that recessive coding variants account for a small fraction of currently undiagnosed nonconsanguineous individuals, and that the role of noncoding variants, incomplete penetrance, and polygenic mechanisms need further exploration.

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