Longitudinal changes in the frequency of mosaic chromosome Y loss in peripheral blood cells of aging men varies profoundly between individuals

Eur J Hum Genet. 2020 Mar;28(3):349-357. doi: 10.1038/s41431-019-0533-z. Epub 2019 Oct 25.


Mosaic loss of chromosome Y (LOY) is the most common somatic genetic aberration and is associated with increased risk for all-cause mortality, various forms of cancer and Alzheimer's disease, as well as other common human diseases. By tracking LOY frequencies in subjects from which blood samples have been serially collected up to five times during up to 22 years, we observed a pronounced intra-individual variation of changes in the frequency of LOY within individual men over time. We observed that in some individuals the frequency of LOY in blood clearly progressed over time and that in other men, the frequency was constant or showed other types of longitudinal development. The predominant method used for estimating LOY is calculation of the median Log R Ratio of probes located in the male specific part of chromosome Y (mLRRY) from intensity data generated by SNP-arrays, which is difficult to interpret due to its logarithmic and inversed scale. We present here a formula to transform mLRRY-values to percentage of LOY that is a more comprehensible unit. The formula was derived using measurements of LOY from matched samples analysed using SNP-array, whole genome sequencing and a new AMELX/AMELY-based assay for droplet digital PCR. The methods described could be applied for analyses of the vast amount of SNP-array data already generated in the scientific community, allowing further discoveries of LOY associated diseases and outcomes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't