Publications by authors named "Matthew C Dulik"

27 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

Specifications of the ACMG/AMP standards and guidelines for mitochondrial DNA variant interpretation.

Hum Mutat 2020 Dec 10;41(12):2028-2057. Epub 2020 Nov 10.

Mitochondrial Medicine Frontier Program, Division of Human Genetics, Department of Pediatrics, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA.

Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) variant pathogenicity interpretation has special considerations given unique features of the mtDNA genome, including maternal inheritance, variant heteroplasmy, threshold effect, absence of splicing, and contextual effects of haplogroups. Currently, there are insufficient standardized criteria for mtDNA variant assessment, which leads to inconsistencies in clinical variant pathogenicity reporting. An international working group of mtDNA experts was assembled within the Mitochondrial Disease Sequence Data Resource Consortium and obtained Expert Panel status from ClinGen. This group reviewed the 2015 American College of Medical Genetics and Association of Molecular Pathology standards and guidelines that are widely used for clinical interpretation of DNA sequence variants and provided further specifications for additional and specific guidance related to mtDNA variant classification. These Expert Panel consensus specifications allow for consistent consideration of the unique aspects of the mtDNA genome that directly influence variant assessment, including addressing mtDNA genome composition and structure, haplogroups and phylogeny, maternal inheritance, heteroplasmy, and functional analyses unique to mtDNA, as well as specifications for utilization of mtDNA genomic databases and computational algorithms.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/humu.24107DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7717623PMC
December 2020

Genomic Diagnosis for Pediatric Disorders: Revolution and Evolution.

Front Pediatr 2020 8;8:373. Epub 2020 Jul 8.

Division of Genomic Diagnostics, Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, School of Medicine, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA, United States.

Powerful, recent advances in technologies to analyze the genome have had a profound impact on the practice of medical genetics, both in the laboratory and in the clinic. Increasing utilization of genome-wide testing such as chromosomal microarray analysis and exome sequencing have lead a shift toward a "genotype-first" approach. Numerous techniques are now available to diagnose a particular syndrome or phenotype, and while traditional techniques remain efficient tools in certain situations, higher-throughput technologies have become the laboratory tool for diagnosis of most conditions. However, selecting the right assay or technology is challenging, and the wrong choice may lead to prolonged time to diagnosis, or even a missed diagnosis. In this review, we will discuss current core technologies for the diagnosis of classic genetic disorders to shed light on the benefits and disadvantages of these strategies, including diagnostic efficiency, variant interpretation, and secondary findings. Finally, we review upcoming technologies posed to impart further changes in the field of genetic diagnostics as we move toward "genome-first" practice.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fped.2020.00373DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7360789PMC
July 2020

Automated Clinical Exome Reanalysis Reveals Novel Diagnoses.

J Mol Diagn 2019 01;21(1):38-48

Division of Genomic Diagnostics, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, Philadelphia; Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Electronic address:

Clinical exome sequencing (CES) has a reported diagnostic yield of 20% to 30% for most clinical indications. The ongoing discovery of novel gene-disease and variant-disease associations are expected to increase the diagnostic yield of CES. Performing systematic reanalysis of previously nondiagnostic CES samples represents a significant challenge for clinical laboratories. Here, we present the results of a novel automated reanalysis methodology applied to 300 CES samples initially analyzed between June 2014 and September 2016. Application of our reanalysis methodology reduced reanalysis variant analysis burden by >93% and correctly captured 70 of 70 previously identified diagnostic variants among 60 samples with previously identified diagnoses. Notably, reanalysis of 240 initially nondiagnostic samples using information available on July 1, 2017, revealed 38 novel diagnoses, representing a 15.8% increase in diagnostic yield. Modeling monthly iterative reanalysis of 240 nondiagnostic samples revealed a diagnostic rate of 0.57% of samples per month. Modeling the workload required for monthly iterative reanalysis of nondiagnostic samples revealed a variant analysis burden of approximately 5 variants/month for proband-only and approximately 0.5 variants/month for trio samples. Approximately 45% of samples required evaluation during each monthly interval, and 61.3% of samples were reevaluated across three consecutive reanalyses. In sum, automated reanalysis methods can facilitate efficient reevaluation of nondiagnostic samples using up-to-date literature and can provide significant value to clinical laboratories.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jmoldx.2018.07.008DOI Listing
January 2019

Secondary findings from clinical genomic sequencing: prevalence, patient perspectives, family history assessment, and health-care costs from a multisite study.

Genet Med 2019 05 5;21(5):1100-1110. Epub 2018 Oct 5.

Division of Genomic Medicine, National Human Genome Research Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD, USA.

Purpose: Clinical sequencing emerging in health care may result in secondary findings (SFs).

Methods: Seventy-four of 6240 (1.2%) participants who underwent genome or exome sequencing through the Clinical Sequencing Exploratory Research (CSER) Consortium received one or more SFs from the original American College of Medical Genetics and Genomics (ACMG) recommended 56 gene-condition pair list; we assessed clinical and psychosocial actions.

Results: The overall adjusted prevalence of SFs in the ACMG 56 genes across the CSER consortium was 1.7%. Initially 32% of the family histories were positive, and post disclosure, this increased to 48%. The average cost of follow-up medical actions per finding up to a 1-year period was $128 (observed, range: $0-$678) and $421 (recommended, range: $141-$1114). Case reports revealed variability in the frequency of and follow-up on medical recommendations patients received associated with each SF gene-condition pair. Participants did not report adverse psychosocial impact associated with receiving SFs; this was corroborated by 18 participant (or parent) interviews. All interviewed participants shared findings with relatives and reported that relatives did not pursue additional testing or care.

Conclusion: Our results suggest that disclosure of SFs shows little to no adverse impact on participants and adds only modestly to near-term health-care costs; additional studies are needed to confirm these findings.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41436-018-0308-xDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6450774PMC
May 2019

Approaches to carrier testing and results disclosure in translational genomics research: The clinical sequencing exploratory research consortium experience.

Mol Genet Genomic Med 2018 11 21;6(6):898-909. Epub 2018 Aug 21.

Treuman Katz Center for Pediatric Bioethics, Seattle Children's Research Institute, Seattle, Washington.

Background: Clinical genome and exome sequencing (CGES) is primarily used to address specific clinical concerns by detecting risk of future disease, clarifying diagnosis, or directing treatment. Additionally, CGES makes possible the disclosure of autosomal recessive and X-linked carrier results as additional secondary findings, and research about the impact of carrier results disclosure in this context is needed.

Methods: Representatives from 11 projects in the clinical sequencing exploratory research (CSER) consortium collected data from their projects using a structured survey. The survey focused on project characteristics, which variants were offered and/or disclosed to participants as carrier results, methods for carrier results disclosure, and project-specific outcomes. We recorded quantitative responses and report descriptive statistics with the aim of describing the variability in approaches to disclosing carrier results in translational genomics research projects.

Results: The proportion of participants with carrier results was related to the number of genes included, ranging from 3% (three genes) to 92% (4,600 genes). Between one and seven results were disclosed to those participants who received any positive result. Most projects offered participants choices about whether to receive some or all of the carrier results. There were a range of approaches to communicate results, and many projects used separate approaches for disclosing positive and negative results.

Conclusion: Future translational genomics research projects will need to make decisions regarding whether and how to disclose carrier results. The CSER consortium experience identifies approaches that balance potential participant interest while limiting impact on project resources.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/mgg3.453DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6305639PMC
November 2018

Utility and limitations of exome sequencing as a genetic diagnostic tool for children with hearing loss.

Genet Med 2018 12 15;20(12):1663-1676. Epub 2018 Jun 15.

Department of Pediatrics, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA, USA.

Purpose: Hearing loss (HL) is the most common sensory disorder in children. Prompt molecular diagnosis may guide screening and management, especially in syndromic cases when HL is the single presenting feature. Exome sequencing (ES) is an appealing diagnostic tool for HL as the genetic causes are highly heterogeneous.

Methods: ES was performed on a prospective cohort of 43 probands with HL. Sequence data were analyzed for primary and secondary findings. Capture and coverage analysis was performed for genes and variants associated with HL.

Results: The diagnostic rate using ES was 37.2%, compared with 15.8% for the clinical HL panel. Secondary findings were discovered in three patients. For 247 genes associated with HL, 94.7% of the exons were targeted for capture and 81.7% of these exons were covered at 20× or greater. Further analysis of 454 randomly selected HL-associated variants showed that 89% were targeted for capture and 75% were covered at a read depth of at least 20×.

Conclusion: ES has an improved yield compared with clinical testing and may capture diagnoses not initially considered due to subtle clinical phenotypes. Technical challenges were identified, including inadequate capture and coverage of HL genes. Additional considerations of ES include secondary findings, cost, and turnaround time.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41436-018-0004-xDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6295269PMC
December 2018

Utility and limitations of exome sequencing in the molecular diagnosis of pediatric inherited platelet disorders.

Am J Hematol 2018 01 20;93(1):8-16. Epub 2017 Oct 20.

Department of Pediatrics, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Inherited platelet disorders (IPD) are a heterogeneous group of rare disorders that affect platelet number and function and often predispose to other significant medical complications. In spite of the identification of over 50 IPD disease-associated genes, a molecular diagnosis is only identified in a minority (10%) of affected patients without a clinically suspected etiology. We studied a cohort of 21 pediatric patients with suspected IPDs by exome sequencing (ES) to: (1) examine the performance of the exome test for IPD genes, (2) determine if this exome-wide diagnostic test provided a higher diagnostic yield than has been previously reported, (3) to evaluate the frequency of variants of uncertain significance identified, and (4) to identify candidate variants for functional evaluation in patients with an uncertain or negative diagnosis. We established a high priority gene list of 53 genes, evaluated exome capture kit performance, and determined the coverage for these genes and disease-related variants. We identified likely disease causing variants in 5 of the 21 probands (23.8%) and variants of uncertain significance in 52% of patients studied. In conclusion, ES has the potential to molecularly diagnose causes of IPD, and to identify candidate genes for functional evaluation. Robust exome sequencing also requires that coverage of genes known to be associated with clinical findings of interest need to be carefully examined and supplemented if necessary. Clinicians who undertake ES should understand the limitations of the test and the full significance of results that may be returned.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ajh.24917DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6366456PMC
January 2018

Performance of ACMG-AMP Variant-Interpretation Guidelines among Nine Laboratories in the Clinical Sequencing Exploratory Research Consortium.

Am J Hum Genet 2016 06 12;98(6):1067-1076. Epub 2016 May 12.

Laboratory for Molecular Medicine, Partners HealthCare Personalized Medicine, Cambridge, MA 02139, USA; Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Cambridge, MA 02115, USA; Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, Cambridge, MA 02142, USA. Electronic address:

Evaluating the pathogenicity of a variant is challenging given the plethora of types of genetic evidence that laboratories consider. Deciding how to weigh each type of evidence is difficult, and standards have been needed. In 2015, the American College of Medical Genetics and Genomics (ACMG) and the Association for Molecular Pathology (AMP) published guidelines for the assessment of variants in genes associated with Mendelian diseases. Nine molecular diagnostic laboratories involved in the Clinical Sequencing Exploratory Research (CSER) consortium piloted these guidelines on 99 variants spanning all categories (pathogenic, likely pathogenic, uncertain significance, likely benign, and benign). Nine variants were distributed to all laboratories, and the remaining 90 were evaluated by three laboratories. The laboratories classified each variant by using both the laboratory's own method and the ACMG-AMP criteria. The agreement between the two methods used within laboratories was high (K-alpha = 0.91) with 79% concordance. However, there was only 34% concordance for either classification system across laboratories. After consensus discussions and detailed review of the ACMG-AMP criteria, concordance increased to 71%. Causes of initial discordance in ACMG-AMP classifications were identified, and recommendations on clarification and increased specification of the ACMG-AMP criteria were made. In summary, although an initial pilot of the ACMG-AMP guidelines did not lead to increased concordance in variant interpretation, comparing variant interpretations to identify differences and having a common framework to facilitate resolution of those differences were beneficial for improving agreement, allowing iterative movement toward increased reporting consistency for variants in genes associated with monogenic disease.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ajhg.2016.03.024DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4908185PMC
June 2016

Utility and limitations of exome sequencing as a genetic diagnostic tool for conditions associated with pediatric sudden cardiac arrest/sudden cardiac death.

Hum Genomics 2015 Jul 19;9:15. Epub 2015 Jul 19.

Department of Pediatrics, Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA, USA.

Background: Conditions associated with sudden cardiac arrest/death (SCA/D) in youth often have a genetic etiology. While SCA/D is uncommon, a pro-active family screening approach may identify these inherited structural and electrical abnormalities prior to symptomatic events and allow appropriate surveillance and treatment. This study investigated the diagnostic utility of exome sequencing (ES) by evaluating the capture and coverage of genes related to SCA/D.

Methods: Samples from 102 individuals (13 with known molecular etiologies for SCA/D, 30 individuals without known molecular etiologies for SCA/D and 59 with other conditions) were analyzed following exome capture and sequencing at an average read depth of 100X. Reads were mapped to human genome GRCh37 using Novoalign, and post-processing and analysis was done using Picard and GATK. A total of 103 genes (2,190 exons) related to SCA/D were used as a primary filter. An additional 100 random variants within the targeted genes associated with SCA/D were also selected and evaluated for depth of sequencing and coverage. Although the primary objective was to evaluate the adequacy of depth of sequencing and coverage of targeted SCA/D genes and not for primary diagnosis, all patients who had SCA/D (known or unknown molecular etiologies) were evaluated with the project's variant analysis pipeline to determine if the molecular etiologies could be successfully identified.

Results: The majority of exons (97.6 %) were captured and fully covered on average at minimum of 20x sequencing depth. The proportion of unique genomic positions reported within poorly covered exons remained small (4 %). Exonic regions with less coverage reflect the need to enrich these areas to improve coverage. Despite limitations in coverage, we identified 100 % of cases with a prior known molecular etiology for SCA/D, and analysis of an additional 30 individuals with SCA/D but no known molecular etiology revealed a diagnostic answer in 5/30 (17 %). We also demonstrated 95 % of 100 randomly selected reported variants within our targeted genes would have been picked up on ES based on our coverage analysis.

Conclusions: ES is a helpful clinical diagnostic tool for SCA/D given its potential to successfully identify a molecular diagnosis, but clinicians should be aware of limitations of available platforms from technical and diagnostic perspectives.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s40246-015-0038-yDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4506570PMC
July 2015

Germline gain-of-function mutations in AFF4 cause a developmental syndrome functionally linking the super elongation complex and cohesin.

Nat Genet 2015 Apr 2;47(4):338-44. Epub 2015 Mar 2.

1] Division of Human Genetics, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA. [2] The Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA.

Transcriptional elongation is critical for gene expression regulation during embryogenesis. The super elongation complex (SEC) governs this process by mobilizing paused RNA polymerase II (RNAP2). Using exome sequencing, we discovered missense mutations in AFF4, a core component of the SEC, in three unrelated probands with a new syndrome that phenotypically overlaps Cornelia de Lange syndrome (CdLS) that we have named CHOPS syndrome (C for cognitive impairment and coarse facies, H for heart defects, O for obesity, P for pulmonary involvement and S for short stature and skeletal dysplasia). Transcriptome and chromatin immunoprecipitation sequencing (ChIP-seq) analyses demonstrated similar alterations of genome-wide binding of AFF4, cohesin and RNAP2 in CdLS and CHOPS syndrome. Direct molecular interaction of the SEC, cohesin and RNAP2 was demonstrated. These data support a common molecular pathogenesis for CHOPS syndrome and CdLS caused by disturbance of transcriptional elongation due to alterations in genome-wide binding of AFF4 and cohesin.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/ng.3229DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4380798PMC
April 2015

Actionable exomic incidental findings in 6503 participants: challenges of variant classification.

Genome Res 2015 Mar 30;25(3):305-15. Epub 2015 Jan 30.

Department of Medicine, Division of Medical Genetics, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington 98195, USA; Department of Genome Sciences, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington 98195, USA;

Recommendations for laboratories to report incidental findings from genomic tests have stimulated interest in such results. In order to investigate the criteria and processes for assigning the pathogenicity of specific variants and to estimate the frequency of such incidental findings in patients of European and African ancestry, we classified potentially actionable pathogenic single-nucleotide variants (SNVs) in all 4300 European- and 2203 African-ancestry participants sequenced by the NHLBI Exome Sequencing Project (ESP). We considered 112 gene-disease pairs selected by an expert panel as associated with medically actionable genetic disorders that may be undiagnosed in adults. The resulting classifications were compared to classifications from other clinical and research genetic testing laboratories, as well as with in silico pathogenicity scores. Among European-ancestry participants, 30 of 4300 (0.7%) had a pathogenic SNV and six (0.1%) had a disruptive variant that was expected to be pathogenic, whereas 52 (1.2%) had likely pathogenic SNVs. For African-ancestry participants, six of 2203 (0.3%) had a pathogenic SNV and six (0.3%) had an expected pathogenic disruptive variant, whereas 13 (0.6%) had likely pathogenic SNVs. Genomic Evolutionary Rate Profiling mammalian conservation score and the Combined Annotation Dependent Depletion summary score of conservation, substitution, regulation, and other evidence were compared across pathogenicity assignments and appear to have utility in variant classification. This work provides a refined estimate of the burden of adult onset, medically actionable incidental findings expected from exome sequencing, highlights challenges in variant classification, and demonstrates the need for a better curated variant interpretation knowledge base.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1101/gr.183483.114DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4352885PMC
March 2015

Clinical phenotype-based gene prioritization: an initial study using semantic similarity and the human phenotype ontology.

BMC Bioinformatics 2014 Jul 21;15:248. Epub 2014 Jul 21.

Department of Pediatrics, Cincinnati Children's Hospital and Medical Center, Cincinnati, OH, USA.

Background: Exome sequencing is a promising method for diagnosing patients with a complex phenotype. However, variant interpretation relative to patient phenotype can be challenging in some scenarios, particularly clinical assessment of rare complex phenotypes. Each patient's sequence reveals many possibly damaging variants that must be individually assessed to establish clear association with patient phenotype. To assist interpretation, we implemented an algorithm that ranks a given set of genes relative to patient phenotype. The algorithm orders genes by the semantic similarity computed between phenotypic descriptors associated with each gene and those describing the patient. Phenotypic descriptor terms are taken from the Human Phenotype Ontology (HPO) and semantic similarity is derived from each term's information content.

Results: Model validation was performed via simulation and with clinical data. We simulated 33 Mendelian diseases with 100 patients per disease. We modeled clinical conditions by adding noise and imprecision, i.e. phenotypic terms unrelated to the disease and terms less specific than the actual disease terms. We ranked the causative gene against all 2488 HPO annotated genes. The median causative gene rank was 1 for the optimal and noise cases, 12 for the imprecision case, and 60 for the imprecision with noise case. Additionally, we examined a clinical cohort of subjects with hearing impairment. The disease gene median rank was 22. However, when also considering the patient's exome data and filtering non-exomic and common variants, the median rank improved to 3.

Conclusions: Semantic similarity can rank a causative gene highly within a gene list relative to patient phenotype characteristics, provided that imprecision is mitigated. The clinical case results suggest that phenotype rank combined with variant analysis provides significant improvement over the individual approaches. We expect that this combined prioritization approach may increase accuracy and decrease effort for clinical genetic diagnosis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/1471-2105-15-248DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4117966PMC
July 2014

Processes and preliminary outputs for identification of actionable genes as incidental findings in genomic sequence data in the Clinical Sequencing Exploratory Research Consortium.

Genet Med 2013 Nov 24;15(11):860-7. Epub 2013 Oct 24.

1] Department of Genetics, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA [2] Carolina Center for Genome Sciences, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA [3] Center for Genomics and Society, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA [4] Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA.

As genomic and exomic testing expands in both the research and clinical arenas, determining whether, how, and which incidental findings to return to the ordering clinician and patient becomes increasingly important. Although opinion is varied on what should be returned to consenting patients or research participants, most experts agree that return of medically actionable results should be considered. There is insufficient evidence to fully inform evidence-based clinical practice guidelines regarding return of results from genome-scale sequencing, and thus generation of such evidence is imperative, given the rapidity with which genome-scale diagnostic tests are being incorporated into clinical care. We present an overview of the approaches to incidental findings by members of the Clinical Sequencing Exploratory Research network, funded by the National Human Genome Research Institute, to generate discussion of these approaches by the clinical genomics community. We also report specific lists of "medically actionable" genes that have been generated by a subset of investigators in order to explore what types of findings have been included or excluded in various contexts. A discussion of the general principles regarding reporting of novel variants, challenging cases (genes for which consensus was difficult to achieve across Clinical Sequencing Exploratory Research network sites), solicitation of preferences from participants regarding return of incidental findings, and the timing and context of return of incidental findings are provided.Genet Med 15 11, 860-867.Genetics in Medicine (2013); 15 11, 860-867. doi:10.1038/gim.2013.133.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/gim.2013.133DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3935342PMC
November 2013

Genetic background and climatic droplet keratopathy incidence in a Mapuche population from Argentina.

PLoS One 2013 5;8(9):e74593. Epub 2013 Sep 5.

Department of Anthropology, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States of America.

Purpose: To determine whether the incidence of and susceptibility to climatic droplet keratopathy (CDK), an acquired, often bilateral degenerative corneal disease, is influenced by the genetic background of the individuals who exhibit the disorder.

Methods: To determine whether the disease expression was influenced by the genetic ancestry of CDK cases in native Mapuche of the northwest area of Patagonia in Argentina, we examined mitochondrial DNA and Y-chromosome variation in 53 unrelated individuals. Twenty-nine of them were part of the CDK (patient) population, while 24 were part of the control group. The analysis revealed the maternal and paternal lineages that were present in the two study groups.

Results: This analysis demonstrated that nearly all persons had a Native American mtDNA background, whereas 50% of the CDK group and 37% of the control group had Native American paternal ancestry, respectively. There was no significant difference in the frequencies of mtDNA haplogroups between the CDK patient and control groups. Although the Y-chromosome data revealed differences in specific haplogroup frequencies between these two groups, there was no statistically significant relationship between individual paternal genetic backgrounds and the incidence or stage of disease.

Conclusions: These results indicate a lack of correlation between genetic ancestry as represented by haploid genetic systems and the incidence of CDK in Mapuche populations. In addition, the mtDNA appears to play less of a role in CDK expression than for other complex diseases linked to bioenergetic processes. However, further analysis of the mtDNA genome sequence and other genes involved in corneal function may reveal the more precise role that mitochondria play in the expression of CDK.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0074593PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3764023PMC
July 2014

Y-chromosome analysis reveals genetic divergence and new founding native lineages in Athapaskan- and Eskimoan-speaking populations.

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 2012 May 14;109(22):8471-6. Epub 2012 May 14.

Department of Anthropology, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA 19104-6398, USA.

For decades, the peopling of the Americas has been explored through the analysis of uniparentally inherited genetic systems in Native American populations and the comparison of these genetic data with current linguistic groupings. In northern North America, two language families predominate: Eskimo-Aleut and Na-Dene. Although the genetic evidence from nuclear and mtDNA loci suggest that speakers of these language families share a distinct biological origin, this model has not been examined using data from paternally inherited Y chromosomes. To test this hypothesis and elucidate the migration histories of Eskimoan- and Athapaskan-speaking populations, we analyzed Y-chromosomal data from Inuvialuit, Gwich'in, and Tłįch populations living in the Northwest Territories of Canada. Over 100 biallelic markers and 19 chromosome short tandem repeats (STRs) were genotyped to produce a high-resolution dataset of Y chromosomes from these groups. Among these markers is an SNP discovered in the Inuvialuit that differentiates them from other Aboriginal and Native American populations. The data suggest that Canadian Eskimoan- and Athapaskan-speaking populations are genetically distinct from one another and that the formation of these groups was the result of two population expansions that occurred after the initial movement of people into the Americas. In addition, the population history of Athapaskan speakers is complex, with the Tłįch being distinct from other Athapaskan groups. The high-resolution biallelic data also make clear that Y-chromosomal diversity among the first Native Americans was greater than previously recognized.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1118760109DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3365193PMC
May 2012

Clan, language, and migration history has shaped genetic diversity in Haida and Tlingit populations from Southeast Alaska.

Am J Phys Anthropol 2012 Jul 1;148(3):422-35. Epub 2012 May 1.

Department of Anthropology, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, 19104-6398, USA.

The linguistically distinctive Haida and Tlingit tribes of Southeast Alaska are known for their rich material culture, complex social organization, and elaborate ritual practices. However, much less is known about these tribes from a population genetic perspective. For this reason, we analyzed mtDNA and Y-chromosome variation in Haida and Tlingit populations to elucidate several key issues pertaining to the history of this region. These included the genetic relationships of Haida and Tlingit to other indigenous groups in Alaska and Canada; the relationship between linguistic and genetic data for populations assigned to the Na-Dene linguistic family, specifically, the inclusion of Haida with Athapaskan, Eyak, and Tlingit in the language family; the possible influence of matrilineal clan structure on patterns of genetic variation in Haida and Tlingit populations; and the impact of European entry into the region on the genetic diversity of these indigenous communities. Our analysis indicates that, while sharing a "northern" genetic profile, the Haida and the Tlingit are genetically distinctive from each other. In addition, Tlingit groups themselves differ across their geographic range, in part due to interactions of Tlingit tribes with Athapaskan and Eyak groups to the north. The data also reveal a strong influence of maternal clan identity on mtDNA variation in these groups, as well as the significant influence of non-native males on Y-chromosome diversity. These results yield new details about the histories of the Haida and Tlingit tribes in this region.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ajpa.22068DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4335652PMC
July 2012

Mitochondrial DNA and Y chromosome variation provides evidence for a recent common ancestry between Native Americans and Indigenous Altaians.

Am J Hum Genet 2012 Feb 25;90(2):229-46. Epub 2012 Jan 25.

Department of Anthropology, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, 19104-6398, USA.

The Altai region of southern Siberia has played a critical role in the peopling of northern Asia as an entry point into Siberia and a possible homeland for ancestral Native Americans. It has an old and rich history because humans have inhabited this area since the Paleolithic. Today, the Altai region is home to numerous Turkic-speaking ethnic groups, which have been divided into northern and southern clusters based on linguistic, cultural, and anthropological traits. To untangle Altaian genetic histories, we analyzed mtDNA and Y chromosome variation in northern and southern Altaian populations. All mtDNAs were assayed by PCR-RFLP analysis and control region sequencing, and the nonrecombining portion of the Y chromosome was scored for more than 100 biallelic markers and 17 Y-STRs. Based on these data, we noted differences in the origin and population history of Altaian ethnic groups, with northern Altaians appearing more like Yeniseian, Ugric, and Samoyedic speakers to the north, and southern Altaians having greater affinities to other Turkic speaking populations of southern Siberia and Central Asia. Moreover, high-resolution analysis of Y chromosome haplogroup Q has allowed us to reshape the phylogeny of this branch, making connections between populations of the New World and Old World more apparent and demonstrating that southern Altaians and Native Americans share a recent common ancestor. These results greatly enhance our understanding of the peopling of Siberia and the Americas.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ajhg.2011.12.014DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3276666PMC
February 2012

Mitochondrial genome sequence analysis: a custom bioinformatics pipeline substantially improves Affymetrix MitoChip v2.0 call rate and accuracy.

BMC Bioinformatics 2011 Oct 19;12:402. Epub 2011 Oct 19.

Center for Biomedical Informatics, The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA.

Background: Mitochondrial genome sequence analysis is critical to the diagnostic evaluation of mitochondrial disease. Existing methodologies differ widely in throughput, complexity, cost efficiency, and sensitivity of heteroplasmy detection. Affymetrix MitoChip v2.0, which uses a sequencing-by-genotyping technology, allows potentially accurate and high-throughput sequencing of the entire human mitochondrial genome to be completed in a cost-effective fashion. However, the relatively low call rate achieved using existing software tools has limited the wide adoption of this platform for either clinical or research applications. Here, we report the design and development of a custom bioinformatics software pipeline that achieves a much improved call rate and accuracy for the Affymetrix MitoChip v2.0 platform. We used this custom pipeline to analyze MitoChip v2.0 data from 24 DNA samples representing a broad range of tissue types (18 whole blood, 3 skeletal muscle, 3 cell lines), mutations (a 5.8 kilobase pair deletion and 6 known heteroplasmic mutations), and haplogroup origins. All results were compared to those obtained by at least one other mitochondrial DNA sequence analysis method, including Sanger sequencing, denaturing HPLC-based heteroduplex analysis, and/or the Illumina Genome Analyzer II next generation sequencing platform.

Results: An average call rate of 99.75% was achieved across all samples with our custom pipeline. Comparison of calls for 15 samples characterized previously by Sanger sequencing revealed a total of 29 discordant calls, which translates to an estimated 0.012% for the base call error rate. We successfully identified 4 known heteroplasmic mutations and 24 other potential heteroplasmic mutations across 20 samples that passed quality control.

Conclusions: Affymetrix MitoChip v2.0 analysis using our optimized MitoChip Filtering Protocol (MFP) bioinformatics pipeline now offers the high sensitivity and accuracy needed for reliable, high-throughput and cost-efficient whole mitochondrial genome sequencing. This approach provides a viable alternative of potential utility for both clinical diagnostic and research applications to traditional Sanger and other emerging sequencing technologies for whole mitochondrial genome analysis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/1471-2105-12-402DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3234255PMC
October 2011

Genetic ancestry and indigenous heritage in a Native American descendant community in Bermuda.

Am J Phys Anthropol 2011 Nov 24;146(3):392-405. Epub 2011 Aug 24.

Department of Anthropology, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA 19104-6398, USA.

Discovered in the early 16th century by European colonists, Bermuda is an isolated set of islands located in the mid-Atlantic. Shortly after its discovery, Bermuda became the first English colony to forcibly import its labor by trafficking in enslaved Africans, white ethnic minorities, and indigenous Americans. Oral traditions circulating today among contemporary tribes from the northeastern United States recount these same events, while, in Bermuda, St. David's Islanders consider their histories to be linked to a complex Native American, European, and African past. To investigate the influence of historical events on biological ancestry and native cultural identity, we analyzed genetic variation in 111 members of Bermuda's self-proclaimed St. David's Island Native Community. Our results reveal that the majority of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) and Y-chromosome haplotypes are of African and West Eurasian origin. However, unlike other English-speaking New World colonies, most African mtDNA haplotypes appear to derive from central and southeast Africa, reflecting the extent of maritime activities in the region. In light of genealogical and oral historical data from the St. David's community, the low frequency of Native American mtDNA and NRY lineages may reflect the influence of genetic drift, the demographic impact of European colonization, and historical admixture with persons of non-native backgrounds, which began with the settlement of the islands. By comparing the genetic data with genealogical and historical information, we are able to reconstruct the complex history of this Bermudian community, which is unique among New World populations.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ajpa.21588DOI Listing
November 2011

Y-chromosome variation in Altaian Kazakhs reveals a common paternal gene pool for Kazakhs and the influence of Mongolian expansions.

PLoS One 2011 Mar 11;6(3):e17548. Epub 2011 Mar 11.

Department of Anthropology, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States of America.

Kazakh populations have traditionally lived as nomadic pastoralists that seasonally migrate across the steppe and surrounding mountain ranges in Kazakhstan and southern Siberia. To clarify their population history from a paternal perspective, we analyzed the non-recombining portion of the Y-chromosome from Kazakh populations living in southern Altai Republic, Russia, using a high-resolution analysis of 60 biallelic markers and 17 STRs. We noted distinct differences in the patterns of genetic variation between maternal and paternal genetic systems in the Altaian Kazakhs. While they possess a variety of East and West Eurasian mtDNA haplogroups, only three East Eurasian paternal haplogroups appear at significant frequencies (C3*, C3c and O3a3c*). In addition, the Y-STR data revealed low genetic diversity within these lineages. Analysis of the combined biallelic and STR data also demonstrated genetic differences among Kazakh populations from across Central Asia. The observed differences between Altaian Kazakhs and indigenous Kazakhs were not the result of admixture between Altaian Kazakhs and indigenous Altaians. Overall, the shared paternal ancestry of Kazakhs differentiates them from other Central Asian populations. In addition, all of them showed evidence of genetic influence by the 13(th) century CE Mongol Empire. Ultimately, the social and cultural traditions of the Kazakhs shaped their current pattern of genetic variation.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0017548PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3055870PMC
March 2011

Dissecting the within-Africa ancestry of populations of African descent in the Americas.

PLoS One 2011 Jan 6;6(1):e14495. Epub 2011 Jan 6.

Department of Biostatistics and Epidemiology, School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States of America.

Background: The ancestry of African-descended Americans is known to be drawn from three distinct populations: African, European, and Native American. While many studies consider this continental admixture, few account for the genetically distinct sources of ancestry within Africa--the continent with the highest genetic variation. Here, we dissect the within-Africa genetic ancestry of various populations of the Americas self-identified as having primarily African ancestry using uniparentally inherited mitochondrial DNA.

Methods And Principal Findings: We first confirmed that our results obtained using uniparentally-derived group admixture estimates are correlated with the average autosomal-derived individual admixture estimates (hence are relevant to genomic ancestry) by assessing continental admixture using both types of markers (mtDNA and Y-chromosome vs. ancestry informative markers). We then focused on the within-Africa maternal ancestry, mining our comprehensive database of published mtDNA variation (∼5800 individuals from 143 African populations) that helped us thoroughly dissect the African mtDNA pool. Using this well-defined African mtDNA variation, we quantified the relative contributions of maternal genetic ancestry from multiple W/WC/SW/SE (West to South East) African populations to the different pools of today's African-descended Americans of North and South America and the Caribbean.

Conclusions: Our analysis revealed that both continental admixture and within-Africa admixture may be critical to achieving an adequate understanding of the ancestry of African-descended Americans. While continental ancestry reflects gender-specific admixture processes influenced by different socio-historical practices in the Americas, the within-Africa maternal ancestry reflects the diverse colonial histories of the slave trade. We have confirmed that there is a genetic thread connecting Africa and the Americas, where each colonial system supplied their colonies in the Americas with slaves from African colonies they controlled or that were available for them at the time. This historical connection is reflected in different relative contributions from populations of W/WC/SW/SE Africa to geographically distinct Africa-derived populations of the Americas, adding to the complexity of genomic ancestry in groups ostensibly united by the same demographic label.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0014495PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3017210PMC
January 2011

Genetic heritage and native identity of the Seaconke Wampanoag tribe of Massachusetts.

Am J Phys Anthropol 2010 Aug;142(4):579-89

Department of Anthropology, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA 19104-6398, USA.

The name "Wampanoag" means "Eastern People" or "People of the First Light" in the local dialect of the Algonquian language. Once extensively populating the coastal lands and neighboring islands of the eastern United States, the Wampanoag people now consist of two federally recognized tribes, the Aquinnah and Mashpee, the state-recognized Seaconke Wampanoag tribe, and a number of bands and clans in present-day southern Massachusetts. Because of repeated epidemics and conflicts with English colonists, including King Philip's War of 1675-76, and subsequent colonial laws forbidding tribal identification, the Wampanoag population was largely decimated, decreasing in size from as many as 12,000 individuals in the 16th century to less than 400, as recorded in 1677. To investigate the influence of the historical past on its biological ancestry and native cultural identity, we analyzed genetic variation in the Seaconke Wampanoag tribe. Our results indicate that the majority of their mtDNA haplotypes belongs to West Eurasian and African lineages, thus reflecting the extent of their contacts and interactions with people of European and African descent. On the paternal side, Y-chromosome analysis identified a range of Native American, West Eurasian, and African haplogroups in the population, and also surprisingly revealed the presence of a paternal lineage that appears at its highest frequencies in New Guinea and Melanesia. Comparison of the genetic data with genealogical and historical information allows us to reconstruct the tribal history of the Seaconke Wampanoag back to at least the early 18th century.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ajpa.21281DOI Listing
August 2010

Evaluation of group genetic ancestry of populations from Philadelphia and Dakar in the context of sex-biased admixture in the Americas.

PLoS One 2009 Nov 25;4(11):e7842. Epub 2009 Nov 25.

Department of Biostatistics and Epidemiology, School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States of America.

Background: Population history can be reflected in group genetic ancestry, where genomic variation captured by the mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) and non-recombining portion of the Y chromosome (NRY) can separate female- and male-specific admixture processes. Genetic ancestry may influence genetic association studies due to differences in individual admixture within recently admixed populations like African Americans.

Principal Findings: We evaluated the genetic ancestry of Senegalese as well as European Americans and African Americans from Philadelphia. Senegalese mtDNA consisted of approximately 12% U haplotypes (U6 and U5b1b haplotypes, common in North Africa) while the NRY haplotypes belonged solely to haplogroup E. In Philadelphia, we observed varying degrees of admixture. While African Americans have 9-10% mtDNAs and approximately 31% NRYs of European origin, these results are not mirrored in the mtDNA/NRY pools of European Americans: they have less than 7% mtDNAs and less than 2% NRYs from non-European sources. Additionally, there is <2% Native American contribution to Philadelphian African American ancestry and the admixture from combined mtDNA/NRY estimates is consistent with the admixture derived from autosomal genetic data. To further dissect these estimates, we have analyzed our samples in the context of different demographic groups in the Americas.

Conclusions: We found that sex-biased admixture in African-derived populations is present throughout the Americas, with continual influence of European males, while Native American females contribute mainly to populations of the Caribbean and South America. The high non-European female contribution to the pool of European-derived populations is consistently characteristic of Iberian colonization. These data suggest that genomic data correlate well with historical records of colonization in the Americas.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0007842PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2776971PMC
November 2009

Russian Old Believers: genetic consequences of their persecution and exile, as shown by mitochondrial DNA evidence.

Hum Biol 2008 Jun;80(3):203-37

Department of Anthropology, Temple University, Philadelphia, PA, USA.

In 1653, the Patriarch Nikon modified liturgical practices to bring the Russian Orthodox Church in line with those of the Eastern (Greek) Orthodox Church, from which it had split 200 years earlier. The Old Believers (staroveri) rejected these changes and continued to worship using the earlier practices. These actions resulted in their persecution by the Russian Orthodox Church, which forced them into exile across Siberia. Given their history, we investigate whether populations of Old Believers have diverged genetically from other Slavic populations as a result of their isolation. We also examine whether the three Old Believer populations analyzed in this study are part of a single gene pool (founder population) or are instead derived from heterogeneous sources. As part of this analysis, we survey the mitochondrial DNAs (mtDNAs) of 189 Russian Old Believer individuals from three populations in Siberia and 201 ethnic Russians from different parts of Siberia for phylogenetically informative mutations in the coding and noncoding regions. Our results indicate that the Old Believers have not significantly diverged genetically from other Slavic populations over the 200-300 years of their isolation in Siberia. However, they do show some unique patterns of mtDNA variation relative to other Slavic groups, such as a high frequency of subhaplogroup U4, a surprisingly low frequency of haplogroup H, and low frequencies of the rare East Eurasian subhaplogroup D5.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3378/1534-6617-80.3.203DOI Listing
June 2008

Genetic variation in the enigmatic Altaian Kazakhs of South-Central Russia: insights into Turkic population history.

Am J Phys Anthropol 2008 Jul;136(3):278-93

Department of Anthropology, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA 19104-6398, USA.

The Altaian Kazakhs, a Turkic speaking group, now reside in the southern part of the Altai Republic in south-central Russia. According to historical accounts, they are one of several ethnic and geographical subdivisions of the Kazakh nomadic group that migrated from China and Western Mongolia into the Altai region during the 19th Century. However, their population history of the Altaian Kazakhs and the genetic relationships with other Kazakh groups and neighboring Turkic-speaking populations is not well understood. To begin elucidating their genetic history, we analyzed the mtDNAs from 237 Altaian Kazakhs through a combination of SNP analysis and HVS1 sequencing. This analysis revealed that their mtDNA gene pool was comprised of roughly equal proportions of East (A-G, M7, M13, Y and Z) and West (H, HV, pre-HV, R, IK, JT, X, U) Eurasian haplogroups, with the haplotypic diversity within haplogroups C, D, H, and U being particularly high. This pattern of diversity likely reflects the complex interactions of the Kazakhs with other Turkic groups, Mongolians, and indigenous Altaians. Overall, these data have important implications for Kazakh population history, the genetic prehistory of the Altai-Sayan region, and the phylogeography of major mitochondrial lineages in Eurasia.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ajpa.20802DOI Listing
July 2008