Validation and application of a novel integrated genetic screening method to a cohort of 1,112 men with idiopathic azoospermia or severe oligozoospermia

Hum Mutat. 2017 Nov;38(11):1592-1605. doi: 10.1002/humu.23312. Epub 2017 Sep 6.


Microdeletions of the Y chromosome (YCMs), Klinefelter syndrome (47,XXY), and CFTR mutations are known genetic causes of severe male infertility, but the majority of cases remain idiopathic. Here, we describe a novel method using single molecule Molecular Inversion Probes (smMIPs), to screen infertile men for mutations and copy number variations affecting known disease genes. We designed a set of 4,525 smMIPs targeting the coding regions of causal (n = 6) and candidate (n = 101) male infertility genes. After extensive validation, we screened 1,112 idiopathic infertile men with non-obstructive azoospermia or severe oligozoospermia. In addition to five chromosome YCMs and six other sex chromosomal anomalies, we identified five patients with rare recessive mutations in CFTR as well as a patient with a rare heterozygous frameshift mutation in SYCP3 that may be of clinical relevance. This results in a genetic diagnosis in 11-17 patients (1%-1.5%), a yield that may increase significantly when more genes are confidently linked to male infertility. In conclusion, we developed a flexible and scalable method to reliably detect genetic causes of male infertility. The assay consolidates the detection of different types of genetic variation while increasing the diagnostic yield and detection precision at the same or lower price compared with currently used methods.

Keywords: Azoospermia; CBAVD; CFTR; Diagnostics; Male Infertility; Oligozoospermia; Reproduction; Targeted Sequencing; smMIPs.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Azoospermia / diagnosis*
  • Azoospermia / genetics*
  • Chromosome Aberrations
  • Computational Biology / methods
  • DNA Copy Number Variations
  • Genetic Association Studies* / methods
  • Genetic Association Studies* / standards
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease*
  • Genetic Testing* / methods
  • Genetic Testing* / standards
  • High-Throughput Nucleotide Sequencing
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mutation
  • Oligospermia / diagnosis*
  • Oligospermia / genetics*
  • Phenotype
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Sex Chromosome Aberrations
  • Sperm Count