Most genetic disorders are clinically and genetically heterogeneous. Next-generation sequencing (NGS) has revolutionized the field and is providing rapidly growing insights into the pathomechanism of hereditary nephropathies. Current best-practice guidelines for most hereditary nephropathies include genetic diagnostics. The increasing number of genes that have to be considered in patients with hereditary nephropathies is often challenging when addressed by conventional techniques and largely benefits from NGS-based approaches that allow the parallel analysis of all disease genes in a single test at relatively low cost, e.g., by the use of multi-gene panels. Knowledge of the underlying genotype is of advantage in discussions with regard to transplantation and therapeutic options. Further, genetics may aid the early detection and treatment of renal and extrarenal complications and the reduction of invasive procedures. An accurate genetic diagnosis is crucial for genetic counselling, provides information about the recurrence risk and may help to improve the clinical management of patients and their families. The bottleneck in genetics is no longer the primary wet lab process but the interpretation of the obtained genetic data, which is by far the most challenging and work-intensive part of the analysis. This can only be managed in a multidisciplinary setting that brings together expert knowledge in genetics and the respective medical field. In the future, bench and bedside benefits can be expected from this kind of digitized medicine.
Keywords: Clinical management; Genetic counselling; Genetic diagnostics; Hereditary nephropathies; Next-generation sequencing (NGS).