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PLoS One. 2013 Aug 1;8(8):e69142. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0069142. Print 2013.

Gene network analysis of candidate loci for human anorectal malformations.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry, Li Ka Shing Faculty of Medicine, The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong SAR, China.

Abstract

Anorectal malformations (ARMs) are birth defects that require surgery and carry significant chronic morbidity. Our earlier genome-wide copy number variation (CNV) study had provided a wealth of candidate loci. To find out whether these candidate loci are related to important developmental pathways, we have performed an extensive literature search coupled with the currently available bioinformatics tools. This has allowed us to assign both genic and non-genic CNVs to interrelated pathways known to govern the development of the anorectal region. We have linked 11 candidate genes to the WNT signalling pathway and 17 genes to the cytoskeletal network. Interestingly, candidate genes with similar functions are disrupted by the same type of CNV. The gene network we discovered provides evidence that rare mutations in different interrelated genes may lead to similar phenotypes, accounting for genetic heterogeneity in ARMs. Classification of patients according to the affected pathway and lesion type should eventually improve the diagnosis and the identification of common genes/molecules as therapeutic targets.

PMID:
23936318
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC3731316
Free PMC Article
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