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Genome Med. 2013 Oct 11;5(10):84. doi: 10.1186/gm488. eCollection 2013.

Genetic architecture of retinal and macular degenerative diseases: the promise and challenges of next-generation sequencing.

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1
Neurobiology-Neurodegeneration and Repair Laboratory, National Eye Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA.

Abstract

Inherited retinal degenerative diseases (RDDs) display wide variation in their mode of inheritance, underlying genetic defects, age of onset, and phenotypic severity. Molecular mechanisms have not been delineated for many retinal diseases, and treatment options are limited. In most instances, genotype-phenotype correlations have not been elucidated because of extensive clinical and genetic heterogeneity. Next-generation sequencing (NGS) methods, including exome, genome, transcriptome and epigenome sequencing, provide novel avenues towards achieving comprehensive understanding of the genetic architecture of RDDs. Whole-exome sequencing (WES) has already revealed several new RDD genes, whereas RNA-Seq and ChIP-Seq analyses are expected to uncover novel aspects of gene regulation and biological networks that are involved in retinal development, aging and disease. In this review, we focus on the genetic characterization of retinal and macular degeneration using NGS technology and discuss the basic framework for further investigations. We also examine the challenges of NGS application in clinical diagnosis and management.

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