Filtering for compound heterozygous sequence variants in non-consanguineous pedigrees

PLoS One. 2013 Aug 5;8(8):e70151. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0070151. Print 2013.


The identification of disease-causing mutations in next-generation sequencing (NGS) data requires efficient filtering techniques. In patients with rare recessive diseases, compound heterozygosity of pathogenic mutations is the most likely inheritance model if the parents are non-consanguineous. We developed a web-based compound heterozygous filter that is suited for data from NGS projects and that is easy to use for non-bioinformaticians. We analyzed the power of compound heterozygous mutation filtering by deriving background distributions for healthy individuals from different ethnicities and studied the effectiveness in trios as well as more complex pedigree structures. While usually more then 30 genes harbor potential compound heterozygotes in single exomes, this number can be markedly reduced with every additional member of the pedigree that is included in the analysis. In a real data set with exomes of four family members, two sisters affected by Mabry syndrome and their healthy parents, the disease-causing gene PIGO, which harbors the pathogenic compound heterozygous variants, could be readily identified. Compound heterozygous filtering is an efficient means to reduce the number of candidate mutations in studies aiming at identifying recessive disease genes in non-consanguineous families. A web-server is provided to make this filtering strategy available at

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Computational Biology / methods*
  • Exome / genetics
  • Heterozygote*
  • High-Throughput Nucleotide Sequencing*
  • Humans
  • Mutation
  • Pedigree