Short tandem repeats (STRs) are some of the fastest mutating loci in the genome. Tools for accurately profiling STRs from high-throughput sequencing data have enabled genome-wide interrogation of more than a million STRs across hundreds of individuals. These catalogs have revealed that STRs are highly multiallelic and may contribute more de novo mutations than any other variant class. Recent studies have leveraged these catalogs to show that STRs play a widespread role in regulating gene expression and other molecular phenotypes. These analyses suggest that STRs are an underappreciated but rich reservoir of variation that likely make significant contributions to Mendelian diseases, complex traits, and cancer.
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