Genomic Structural Variants

Volume 838 of the series Methods in Molecular Biology pp 249-272


Structural Genetic Variation in the Context of Somatic Mosaicism

  • Jan P. DumanskiAffiliated withDepartment of Immunology Genetics and Pathology, Uppsala University Email author 
  • , Arkadiusz PiotrowskiAffiliated withDepartment of Biology and Pharmaceutical Botany, Medical University of Gdansk

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Somatic mosaicism is the result of postzygotic de novo mutation occurring in a portion of the cells making up an organism. Structural genetic variation is a very heterogeneous group of changes, in terms of numerous types of aberrations that are included in this category, involvement of many mechanisms behind the generation of structural variants, and because structural variation can encompass genomic regions highly variable in size. Structural variation rapidly evolved as the dominating type of changes behind human genetic diversity, and the importance of this variation in biology and medicine is continuously increasing. In this review, we combine the evidence of structural variation in the context of somatic cells. We discuss the normal and disease-related somatic structural variation. We review the recent advances in the field of monozygotic twins and other models that have been studied for somatic mutations, including other vertebrates. We also discuss chromosomal mosaicism in a few prime examples of disease genes that contributed to understanding of the importance of somatic heterogeneity. We further highlight challenges and opportunities related to this field, including methodological and practical aspects of detection of somatic mosaicism. The literature devoted to interindividual variation versus papers reporting on somatic variation suggests that the latter is understudied and underestimated. It is important to increase our awareness about somatic mosaicism, in particular, related to structural variation. We believe that further research of somatic mosaicism will prove beneficial for better understanding of common sporadic disorders.

Key words

Copy number variation Heterogeneity Mosaicism Chimerism Aneuploidy Somatic cell Monozygotic twins Mitochondrial genome Nuclear genome Uniparental disomy