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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2010 Dec 7;107(49):21104-9. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1012989107. Epub 2010 Nov 15.

Comprehensive genetic testing for hereditary hearing loss using massively parallel sequencing.

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Department of Otolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery, University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA 52242, USA.


The extreme genetic heterogeneity of nonsyndromic hearing loss (NSHL) makes genetic diagnosis expensive and time consuming using available methods. To assess the feasibility of target-enrichment and massively parallel sequencing technologies to interrogate all exons of all genes implicated in NSHL, we tested nine patients diagnosed with hearing loss. Solid-phase (NimbleGen) or solution-based (SureSelect) sequence capture, followed by 454 or Illumina sequencing, respectively, were compared. Sequencing reads were mapped using GSMAPPER, BFAST, and BOWTIE, and pathogenic variants were identified using a custom-variant calling and annotation pipeline (ASAP) that incorporates publicly available in silico pathogenicity prediction tools (SIFT, BLOSUM, Polyphen2, and Align-GVGD). Samples included one negative control, three positive controls (one biological replicate), and six unknowns (10 samples total), in which we genotyped 605 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) by Sanger sequencing to measure sensitivity and specificity for SureSelect-Illumina and NimbleGen-454 methods at saturating sequence coverage. Causative mutations were identified in the positive controls but not in the negative control. In five of six idiopathic hearing loss patients we identified the pathogenic mutation. Massively parallel sequencing technologies provide sensitivity, specificity, and reproducibility at levels sufficient to perform genetic diagnosis of hearing loss.

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