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Revisiting disease genes based on whole-exome sequencing in consanguineous populations

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Assigning a causal role for genes in disease states is one of the most significant medical applications of human genetics research. The requirement for at least two different pathogenic alleles in the same gene in individuals with a similar phenotype to assign a causal link has not always been fully adhered to, and we now know that even two alleles may not necessarily constitute sufficient evidence. Autozygosity is a rich source of natural “knockout” events by virtue of rendering ancestral loss-of-function (LOF) variants homozygous. In this study, we exploit this phenomenon by examining 523 exomes enriched for autozygosity to call into question previously published disease links for several genes based on the identification of confirmed homozygous LOF variants in the absence of the purported diseases. This study highlights an additional advantage of consanguineous populations in the quest to improve the medical annotation of the human genome.

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Correspondence to Fowzan S. Alkuraya.

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A. Shamia and R. Shaheen have contributed equally.

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Shamia, A., Shaheen, R., Sabbagh, N. et al. Revisiting disease genes based on whole-exome sequencing in consanguineous populations. Hum Genet 134, 1029–1034 (2015).

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