Achieving confidence in the causality of a disease locus is a complex task that often requires supporting data from both statistical genetics and clinical genomics. Here we describe a combined approach to identify and characterize a genetic disorder that leverages distantly related patients in a health system and population-scale mapping. We utilize genomic data to uncover components of distant pedigrees, in the absence of recorded pedigree information, in the multi-ethnic BioMe biobank in New York City. By linking to medical records, we discover a locus associated with both elevated genetic relatedness and extreme short stature. We link the gene, COL27A1, with a little-known genetic disease, previously thought to be rare and recessive. We demonstrate that disease manifests in both heterozygotes and homozygotes, indicating a common collagen disorder impacting up to 2% of individuals of Puerto Rican ancestry, leading to a better understanding of the continuum of complex and Mendelian disease.
Keywords: Electronic Health Records; GWAS; collagen disorder; evolutionary biology; genomics; human; human biology; medical genetics; medicine; population genetics.