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1.  Clinical whole-genome sequencing in severe early-onset epilepsy reveals new genes and improves molecular diagnosis 
Human Molecular Genetics  2014;23(12):3200-3211.
In severe early-onset epilepsy, precise clinical and molecular genetic diagnosis is complex, as many metabolic and electro-physiological processes have been implicated in disease causation. The clinical phenotypes share many features such as complex seizure types and developmental delay. Molecular diagnosis has historically been confined to sequential testing of candidate genes known to be associated with specific sub-phenotypes, but the diagnostic yield of this approach can be low. We conducted whole-genome sequencing (WGS) on six patients with severe early-onset epilepsy who had previously been refractory to molecular diagnosis, and their parents. Four of these patients had a clinical diagnosis of Ohtahara Syndrome (OS) and two patients had severe non-syndromic early-onset epilepsy (NSEOE). In two OS cases, we found de novo non-synonymous mutations in the genes KCNQ2 and SCN2A. In a third OS case, WGS revealed paternal isodisomy for chromosome 9, leading to identification of the causal homozygous missense variant in KCNT1, which produced a substantial increase in potassium channel current. The fourth OS patient had a recessive mutation in PIGQ that led to exon skipping and defective glycophosphatidyl inositol biosynthesis. The two patients with NSEOE had likely pathogenic de novo mutations in CBL and CSNK1G1, respectively. Mutations in these genes were not found among 500 additional individuals with epilepsy. This work reveals two novel genes for OS, KCNT1 and PIGQ. It also uncovers unexpected genetic mechanisms and emphasizes the power of WGS as a clinical tool for making molecular diagnoses, particularly for highly heterogeneous disorders.
doi:10.1093/hmg/ddu030
PMCID: PMC4030775  PMID: 24463883
2.  Mesomelic dysplasia Kantaputra type is associated with duplications of the HOXD locus on chromosome 2q 
European Journal of Human Genetics  2010;18(12):1310-1314.
Mesomelic dysplasia Kantaputra type (MDK) is characterized by marked mesomelic shortening of the upper and lower limbs originally described in a Thai family. To identify the cause of MDK, we performed array CGH and identified two microduplications on chromosome 2 (2q31.1-q31.2) encompassing ∼481 and 507 kb, separated by a segment of normal copy number. The more centromeric duplication encompasses the entire HOXD cluster, as well as the neighboring genes EVX2 and MTX2. The breakpoints of the duplication localize to the same region as the previously identified inversion of the mouse mutant ulnaless (Ul), which has a similar phenotype as MDK. We propose that MDK is caused by duplications that modify the topography of the locus and as such result in deregulation of HOXD gene expression.
doi:10.1038/ejhg.2010.116
PMCID: PMC3002849  PMID: 20648051
HOXD; MDK; microduplication
3.  Autism, language and communication in children with sex chromosome trisomies 
Archives of disease in childhood  2010;96(10):954-959.
Purpose
Sex chromosome trisomies (SCTs) are found on amniocentesis in 2.3–3.7 per 1000 same-sex births, yet there is a limited database on which to base a prognosis. Autism has been described in postnatally diagnosed cases of Klinefelter syndrome (XXY karyotype), but the prevalence in non-referred samples, and in other trisomies, is unclear. The authors recruited the largest sample including all three SCTs to be reported to date, including children identified on prenatal screening, to clarify this issue.
Design
Parents of children with a SCT were recruited either via prenatal screening or via a parental support group, to give a sample of 58 XXX, 19 XXY and 58 XYY cases. Parents were interviewed using the Vineland Adaptive Behavior Scales and completed questionnaires about the communicative development of children with SCTs and their siblings (42 brothers and 26 sisters).
Results
Rates of language and communication problems were high in all three trisomies. Diagnoses of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) were found in 2/19 cases of XXY (11%) and 11/58 XYY (19%). After excluding those with an ASD diagnosis, communicative profiles indicative of mild autistic features were common, although there was wide individual variation.
Conclusions
Autistic features have not previously been remarked upon in studies of non-referred samples with SCTs, yet the rate is substantially above population levels in this sample, even when attention is restricted to early-identified cases. The authors hypothesise that X-linked and Y-linked neuroligins may play a significant role in the aetiology of communication impairments and ASD.
doi:10.1136/adc.2009.179747
PMCID: PMC3182523  PMID: 20656736

Results 1-3 (3)