Whole Genome Sequencing Increases Molecular Diagnostic Yield Compared with Current Diagnostic Testing for Inherited Retinal Disease

Ophthalmology. 2016 May;123(5):1143-50. doi: 10.1016/j.ophtha.2016.01.009. Epub 2016 Feb 9.


Purpose: To compare the efficacy of whole genome sequencing (WGS) with targeted next-generation sequencing (NGS) in the diagnosis of inherited retinal disease (IRD).

Design: Case series.

Participants: A total of 562 patients diagnosed with IRD.

Methods: We performed a direct comparative analysis of current molecular diagnostics with WGS. We retrospectively reviewed the findings from a diagnostic NGS DNA test for 562 patients with IRD. A subset of 46 of 562 patients (encompassing potential clinical outcomes of diagnostic analysis) also underwent WGS, and we compared mutation detection rates and molecular diagnostic yields. In addition, we compared the sensitivity and specificity of the 2 techniques to identify known single nucleotide variants (SNVs) using 6 control samples with publically available genotype data.

Main outcome measures: Diagnostic yield of genomic testing.

Results: Across known disease-causing genes, targeted NGS and WGS achieved similar levels of sensitivity and specificity for SNV detection. However, WGS also identified 14 clinically relevant genetic variants through WGS that had not been identified by NGS diagnostic testing for the 46 individuals with IRD. These variants included large deletions and variants in noncoding regions of the genome. Identification of these variants confirmed a molecular diagnosis of IRD for 11 of the 33 individuals referred for WGS who had not obtained a molecular diagnosis through targeted NGS testing. Weighted estimates, accounting for population structure, suggest that WGS methods could result in an overall 29% (95% confidence interval, 15-45) uplift in diagnostic yield.

Conclusions: We show that WGS methods can detect disease-causing genetic variants missed by current NGS diagnostic methodologies for IRD and thereby demonstrate the clinical utility and additional value of WGS.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Eye Diseases, Hereditary / genetics*
  • Female
  • Genome*
  • Genotype
  • High-Throughput Nucleotide Sequencing
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Molecular Diagnostic Techniques*
  • Polymorphism, Single Nucleotide
  • Retinal Diseases / genetics*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Sequence Analysis, DNA*