Disease-specific ACMG/AMP guidelines improve sequence variant interpretation for hearing loss

Genet Med. 2021 Nov;23(11):2208-2212. doi: 10.1038/s41436-021-01254-2. Epub 2021 Jul 6.


Purpose: The ClinGen Variant Curation Expert Panels (VCEPs) provide disease-specific rules for accurate variant interpretation. Using the hearing loss-specific American College of Medical Genetics and Genomics/Association for Molecular Pathology (ACMG/AMP) guidelines, the Hearing Loss VCEP (HL VCEP) illustrates the utility of expert specifications in variant interpretation.

Methods: A total of 157 variants across nine HL genes, previously submitted to ClinVar, were curated by the HL VCEP. The curation process involved collecting published and unpublished data for each variant by biocurators, followed by bimonthly meetings of an expert curation subgroup that reviewed all evidence and applied the HL-specific ACMG/AMP guidelines to reach a final classification.

Results: Before expert curation, 75% (117/157) of variants had single or multiple variants of uncertain significance (VUS) submissions (17/157) or had conflicting interpretations in ClinVar (100/157). After applying the HL-specific ACMG/AMP guidelines, 24% (4/17) of VUS and 69% (69/100) of discordant variants were resolved into benign (B), likely benign (LB), likely pathogenic (LP), or pathogenic (P). Overall, 70% (109/157) variants had unambiguous classifications (B, LB, LP, P). We quantify the contribution of the HL-specified ACMG/AMP codes to variant classification.

Conclusion: Expert specification and application of the HL-specific ACMG/AMP guidelines effectively resolved discordant interpretations in ClinVar. This study highlights the utility of ClinGen VCEPs in supporting more consistent clinical variant interpretation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adenosine Monophosphate
  • Genetic Testing
  • Genetic Variation / genetics
  • Genome, Human*
  • Hearing Loss* / diagnosis
  • Hearing Loss* / genetics
  • Humans


  • Adenosine Monophosphate