Diagnostic exome-based preconception carrier testing in consanguineous couples: results from the first 100 couples in clinical practice

Suzanne C. E. H. Sallevelt, Alexander P. A. Stegmann, Bart de Koning, Crool Velter, Anja Steyls, Melanie van Esch, Phillis Lakeman, Helger Yntema, Masoud Zamani Esteki, Christine E. M. de Die-Smulders, Christian Gilissen, Arthur van den Wijngaard, Han G. Brunner, Aimee D. C. Paulussen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


PURPOSE: Consanguineous couples are at increased risk of being heterozygous for the same autosomal recessive (AR) disorder(s), with a 25% risk of affected offspring as a consequence. Until recently, comprehensive preconception carrier testing (PCT) for AR disorders was unavailable in routine diagnostics. Here we developed and implemented such a test in routine clinical care.

METHODS: We performed exome sequencing (ES) for 100 consanguineous couples. For each couple, rare variants that could give rise to biallelic variants in offspring were selected. These variants were subsequently filtered against a gene panel consisting of similar to 2,000 genes associated with known AR disorders (OMIM-based). Remaining variants were classified according to American College of Medical Genetics and Genomics/Association for Molecular Pathology (ACMG/AMP) guidelines, after which only likely pathogenic and pathogenic (class IV/V) variants, present in both partners, were reported.

RESULTS: In 28 of 100 tested consanguineous couples (28%), likely pathogenic and pathogenic variants not previously known in the couple or their family were reported conferring 25% risk of affected offspring.

CONCLUSION: ES-based PCT provides a powerful diagnostic tool to identify AR disease carrier status in consanguineous couples. Outcomes provided significant reproductive chokes for a higher proportion of these couples than previous tests.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1125-1136
Number of pages12
JournalGenetics in Medicine
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2021

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