Exome copy number variant detection, analysis, and classification in a large cohort of families with undiagnosed rare genetic disease.

American journal of human genetics

Copy number variants (CNVs) are significant contributors to the pathogenicity of rare genetic diseases and, with new innovative methods, can now reliably be identified from exome sequencing. Challenges still remain in accurate classification of CNV pathogenicity. CNV calling using GATK-gCNV was performed on exomes from a cohort of 6,633 families (15,759 individuals) with heterogeneous phenotypes and variable prior genetic testing collected at the Broad Institute Center for Mendelian Genomics of the Genomics Research to Elucidate the Genetics of Rare Diseases consortium and analyzed using the seqr platform. The addition of CNV detection to exome analysis identified causal CNVs for 171 families (2.6%). The estimated sizes of CNVs ranged from 293 bp to 80 Mb. The causal CNVs consisted of 140 deletions, 15 duplications, 3 suspected complex structural variants (SVs), 3 insertions, and 10 complex SVs, the latter two groups being identified by orthogonal confirmation methods. To classify CNV variant pathogenicity, we used the 2020 American College of Medical Genetics and Genomics/ClinGen CNV interpretation standards and developed additional criteria to evaluate allelic and functional data as well as variants on the X chromosome to further advance the framework. We interpreted 151 CNVs as likely pathogenic/pathogenic and 20 CNVs as high-interest variants of uncertain significance. Calling CNVs from existing exome data increases the diagnostic yield for individuals undiagnosed after standard testing approaches, providing a higher-resolution alternative to arrays at a fraction of the cost of genome sequencing. Our improvements to the classification approach advances the systematic framework to assess the pathogenicity of CNVs.

Year of Publication
American journal of human genetics
Date Published
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