Purpose: Sixty to seventy-five percent of individuals with rare and undiagnosed phenotypes remain undiagnosed after exome sequencing (ES). With standard ES reanalysis resolving 10-15% of the ES negatives, further approaches are necessary to maximize diagnoses in these individuals.
Methods: In 38 ES negative patients an individualized genomic-phenotypic approach was employed utilizing (1) phenotyping; (2) reanalyses of FASTQ files, with innovative bioinformatics; (3) targeted molecular testing; (4) genome sequencing (GS); and (5) conferring of clinical diagnoses when pathognomonic clinical findings occurred.
Results: Certain and highly likely diagnoses were made in 18/38 (47%) individuals, including identifying two new developmental disorders. The majority of diagnoses (>70%) were due to our bioinformatics, phenotyping, and targeted testing identifying variants that were undetected or not prioritized on prior ES. GS diagnosed 3/18 individuals with structural variants not amenable to ES. Additionally, tentative diagnoses were made in 3 (8%), and in 5 individuals (13%) candidate genes were identified. Overall, diagnoses/potential leads were identified in 26/38 (68%).
Conclusions: Our comprehensive approach to ES negatives maximizes the ES and clinical data for both diagnoses and candidate gene identification, without GS in the majority. This iterative approach is cost-effective and is pertinent to the current conundrum of ES negatives.
Keywords: Exome sequencing; Genome sequencing; Phenotyping; Rare diseases; Undiagnosed diseases.