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1.  Molecular diagnostics for congenital hearing loss including 15 deafness genes using a next generation sequencing platform 
BMC Medical Genomics  2012;5:17.
Hereditary hearing loss (HL) can originate from mutations in one of many genes involved in the complex process of hearing. Identification of the genetic defects in patients is currently labor intensive and expensive. While screening with Sanger sequencing for GJB2 mutations is common, this is not the case for the other known deafness genes (> 60). Next generation sequencing technology (NGS) has the potential to be much more cost efficient. Published methods mainly use hybridization based target enrichment procedures that are time saving and efficient, but lead to loss in sensitivity. In this study we used a semi-automated PCR amplification and NGS in order to combine high sensitivity, speed and cost efficiency.
In this proof of concept study, we screened 15 autosomal recessive deafness genes in 5 patients with congenital genetic deafness. 646 specific primer pairs for all exons and most of the UTR of the 15 selected genes were designed using primerXL. Using patient specific identifiers, all amplicons were pooled and analyzed using the Roche 454 NGS technology. Three of these patients are members of families in which a region of interest has previously been characterized by linkage studies. In these, we were able to identify two new mutations in CDH23 and OTOF. For another patient, the etiology of deafness was unclear, and no causal mutation was found. In a fifth patient, included as a positive control, we could confirm a known mutation in TMC1.
We have developed an assay that holds great promise as a tool for screening patients with familial autosomal recessive nonsyndromal hearing loss (ARNSHL). For the first time, an efficient, reliable and cost effective genetic test, based on PCR enrichment, for newborns with undiagnosed deafness is available.
PMCID: PMC3443074  PMID: 22607986
Deafness; Next generation sequencing; PCR based enrichment; Genetic diagnostics
2.  Reference Gene Selection for Insect Expression Studies Using Quantitative Real-Time PCR: The Head of the Honeybee, Apis mellifera, After a Bacterial Challenge 
In this study an important and often neglected aspect of gene expression studies in insects, the validation of appropriate reference genes with stable expression levels between sample groups, is addressed. Although in this paper the reference gene selection for the honeybee, Apis mellifera L. (Hymenoptera: Apidae) head was tested in the context of bacterial challenge with Escherichia coli, this work can serve as a resource to help select and screen insect reference genes for gene expression studies in any tissue and under any experimental manipulation. Since it is recommended to use multiple reference genes for accurate normalization, we analyzed the expression of eleven candidate reference genes in the honeybee head, for their potential use in the analysis of differential gene expression following bacterial challenge. Three software programs, BestKeeper, Normfinder and geNorm, were used to assess candidate reference genes. GeNorm recommended the use of four reference genes. Both geNorm and Normfinder identified the genes GAPDH, RPS18, actin and RPL13a as the most stable ones, only differing in their ranking order. BestKeeper identified RPS18 as being the reference gene with the least overall variation, but also actin and GAPDH were found to be the second and third most stable expressed gene. By a combination of three software programs the genes actin, RPS18 and GAPDH were found suitable reference genes in the honeybee head in the context of bacterial infection.
PMCID: PMC3061606
insect immunity; neuro-immunity; housekeeping genes; normalization; variability; transcription

Results 1-2 (2)