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Title: Using 'next-generation' sequencing in the identification of novel causes of inherited heart diseases
Author: Hastings, Rob
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2013
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Next-generation sequencing methods now allow rapid and cost-effective sequencing of DNA on a scale not previously possible. This offers great opportunities for the research of Mendelian disorders, but also significant challenges. The sequencing of exomes, or whole genomes, has emerged as a powerful clinical research tool, with targeted gene analyses generally being preferred in the clinical diagnostic setting. These methods have been employed here with the aim of identifying novel genetic causes of inherited heart disorders and to gain insights into the utility and limitations of these techniques for clinical diagnosis in these disorders. Data produced from the introduction of a targeted multi-gene next-generation sequencing test into clinical practice has been studied. Variation within the mitochondrial genome has been analysed to assess the importance of mitochondrial DNA variants in patients with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. The m.4300A>G mutation is identified as an important cause of this disorder, with other previously cardiomyopathy-associated and novel variants also identified. Such multi-gene tests can facilitate interpretable and phenotype-relevant results, but at the expense of limiting more extensive data acquisition. Whole-genome sequencing has been performed in five families with different autosomal dominant inherited heart disease phenotypes of unknown genetic aetiology. In two of these likely pathogenic variants were identified, one in the gene encoding titin (TTN) and the other in the calcium channel subunit gene CACNA1C. In vitro studies were undertaken to support the pathogenicity of the TTN variant and understand the functional effects of this. In the other three families either multiple candidate gene variants were identified or no clear candidate variant was identified. This highlights the difficulties in interpreting these results, even in carefully selected families. Overall, although the research benefits of exome or genome studies are evident, the interpretation and validation of genetic variant data produced remains highly challenging for clinical diagnosis.
Supervisor: Watkins, Hugh ; Gehmlich, Katja Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Cardiovascular disease ; Clinical genetics ; Gene medicine ; Genetics (medical sciences) ; genetics ; cardiology ; inherited ; mitochondrial ; whole-genome sequencing ; genomics ; genome ; exome