Background Clinicians are faced with unprecedented opportunities to identify the genetic aetiologies of hitherto molecularly uncharacterised conditions via the use of high-throughput sequencing. Access to genomic technology and resultant data is no longer limited to clinicians, geneticists and bioinformaticians, however; ongoing commercialisation gives patients themselves ever greater access to sequencing services. We report an increasingly common medical scenario by describing two neuromuscular patients—a mother and adult son—whose consumer access to whole-genome sequencing affected their diagnostic journey.
Results Whole-genome sequencing initiated by the patients—to predict their risk of common diseases—revealed that they share several variants potentially relevant to neuromuscular diseases, which initially sidetracked diagnostic efforts. Since eventual clinical reassessment, including muscle imaging, pointed towards Bethlem myopathy, a collagen VI-related myopathy, we pursued Sanger sequencing of COL6A1, COL6A2 and COL6A3. This targeted approach revealed a heterozygous causative variant in COL6A3 (c.6365G>T (p.Gly2122Val)), shared by both individuals, that was not flagged by the interpretation of the whole-genome sequencing data.
Conclusions This report highlights the essential interplay of clinical and genomic expertise in realising the potential of high-throughput sequencing. In an era when patients themselves may bring their own data to the table, definitively identifying clinically significant genomic variants will require close collaboration among clinicians, geneticists and bioinformaticians.
This is an Open Access article distributed in accordance with the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY 3.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt and build upon this work, for commercial use, provided the original work is properly cited. See: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/
Statistics from Altmetric.com
If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.
This web only file has been produced by the BMJ Publishing Group from an electronic file supplied by the author(s) and has not been edited for content.
Files in this Data Supplement:
- Data supplement 1 - Online figure