For the first time, scientists have successfully used a method called exome sequencing to quickly discover a previously unknown gene responsible for a mendelian disorder.
While most mendelian disorders are rare, there are 7,000-plus suspected mendelian disorders that in aggregate affect millions of people in the United States, according to Dr. Michael J. Bamshad, one of the senior authors of the study, a UW professor of genome sciences and pediatrics, and a pediatrician at Seattle Children's. "Our results show that scientists could use exome sequencing to identify the genetic cause for thousands of disorders for which the gene hasn't been discovered."
"One of the reasons that this strategy is so powerful is that the scientists need only use a small number of unrelated cases to find the gene," said the other senior author of the study, Dr. Jay Shendure, UW assistant professor of genome sciences.
Dr. James Kiley, director of the Division of Lung Diseases at the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, part of the National Institutes of Healths in Bethesda, Md., said, "Following the recent successes with genome-wide association studies, this promising technology will advance our understanding of the genetic variants of both common disorders and rare diseases."
The disorder the UW research team used to test the strategy is Miller syndrome, whose genetic cause had been impossible to determine through conventional approaches. People with this syndrome have a number of malformations affecting their mouths, eyelids, ears, and feet. The research team was able to find that mutations in the gene, DHODH, cause Miller syndrome.
After scientists identify one causative gene and its repercussions, by extension they might discover other genes or environmental agents that affect the same biological pathway. For example, the malformation patterns found in Miller syndrome are similar to the birth defects in fetuses of some, but not all, mothers who took the drug methotrexate during pregnancy. Knowing this might provide some clues to genetic susceptibility to birth defects from methotrexate.
The ability of exome sequencing to identify a causative gene in a few months, compared to earlier methods that took years, "caused an audible gasp in the audience when we presented these findings to our peers," Bamshad said. "The power of this strategy is remarkable to many of us."
"We hope that the results of this study help point the way for thousands of scientists working on rare disorders who are seeking more efficient ways to locate the causative gene," Shendure added. "The exome sequencing strategy may also prove useful in studies of common disorders with complex genetics."
The study published in Nature Genetics was a collaborative effort among scientists from many disciplines and institutions. Other authors include co-first author Kati J. Buckingham, from the UW Department of Pediatrics; Choli Lee, UW Department of Genome Sciences; Abigail W. Bigham, UW Department of Pediatrics; Holly K. Tabor, UW Department of Pediatrics and the Treuman Center for Pediatric Bioethics at Seattle Children's; Karin M. Dent and Chad D. Huff from the University of Utah departments of pediatrics and human genetics, respectively; Paul T. Shannon of the Institute of Systems Biology in Seattle; Ethylin Wang Jabs of the Department of Genetics and Genome Sciences at Mount Sinai School of Medicine and the Department of Pediatrics at Johns Hopkins University, and Deborah Nickerson from the UW Department of Genome Sciences.
The research was funded by grants from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Health and Human Development, the National Human Genome Research Institute, and the Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, all at the National Institutes of Health; the state of Washington Life Sciences Discovery Fund and the Washington Research Foundation.
Leila Gray | EurekAlert!
Bare bones: Making bones transparent
27.04.2017 | California Institute of Technology
Link Discovered between Immune System, Brain Structure and Memory
26.04.2017 | Universität Basel
More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.
Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...
Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.
"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...
The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.
Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...
The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...
Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.
Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...
20.04.2017 | Event News
18.04.2017 | Event News
03.04.2017 | Event News
27.04.2017 | Life Sciences
27.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
27.04.2017 | Earth Sciences