Retinitis pigmentosa (RP) is a heterogeneous set of inherited retinopathies with many disease-causing genes, many known mutations, and highly varied clinical consequences. Progress in finding treatments is dependent on determining the genes and mutations causing these diseases, which includes both gene discovery and mutation screening in affected individuals and families. Despite the complexity, substantial progress has been made in finding RP genes and mutations. Depending on the type of RP, and the technology used, it is possible to detect mutations in 30-80% of cases. One of the most powerful approaches to genetic testing is high-throughput 'deep sequencing', that is, next-generation sequencing (NGS). NGS has identified several novel RP genes but a substantial fraction of previously unsolved cases have mutations in genes that are known causes of retinal disease but not necessarily RP. Apparent discrepancy between the molecular defect and clinical findings may warrant reevaluation of patients and families. In this review, we summarize the current approaches to gene discovery and mutation detection for RP, and indicate pitfalls and unsolved problems. Similar considerations apply to other forms of inherited retinal disease.
Keywords: genetic screening; inherited retinal diseases; next-generation sequencing; phenotype-genotype reconciliation; retinitis pigmentosa; targeted-capture sequencing.
© 2013 John Wiley & Sons A/S. Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.