MYBPC3 is the most frequently mutated gene in hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM). Several loss-of-function founder variants have been reported in MYBPC3 from various geographic regions, altogether suggestive of a modest or absent effect of these variants on reproductive fitness. One of them, a MYBPC3 splice variant, NM_000256.3:c.3330+2T > G, was first described in homozygous state in newborns presenting with a severe, recessive form of HCM among the Amish population and was later associated with adult-onset dominant HCM in heterozygous carriers. We here report this splice variant in heterozygous state in eight unrelated Swiss families with HCM, making it the most prevalent cardiomyopathy variant in western Switzerland. This variant was identified in patients using targeted (n = 5) or full-genome sequencing (n = 3). Given the prevalence of this variant in the Old Order Amish, Mennonites and Swiss populations, and given that both Amish and Mennonites founders originated from the Bern Canton in Switzerland, the MYBPC3, NM_000256.3:c.3330+2T > G variant appears to be of Swiss origin. Neighboring regions that hosted the first Amish settlements (Alsace, South Germany) should be on the lookout for that variant. The existence of MYBPC3 founder variants in different populations suggests that individuals with early-onset clinical disease may be the tip of the iceberg of a much larger number of asymptomatic carriers. Alternatively, reproductive fitness could even be slightly increased in some variant carriers to compensate for the reduction of fitness in the more severely affected ones, but this remains to be investigated.
Keywords: Founder variant; MYBPC3, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy; Phasing.
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