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Concept: Genotype-phenotype distinction


During the last several years, high-density genotyping SNP arrays have facilitated genome-wide association studies (GWAS) that successfully identified common genetic variants associated with a variety of phenotypes. However, each of the identified genetic variants only explains a very small fraction of the underlying genetic contribution to the studied phenotypic trait. Moreover, discordance observed in results between independent GWAS indicates the potential for Type I and II errors. High reliability of genotyping technology is needed to have confidence in using SNP data and interpreting GWAS results. Therefore, reproducibility of two widely genotyping technology platforms from Affymetrix and Illumina was assessed by analyzing four technical replicates from each of the six individuals in five laboratories. Genotype concordance of 99.40% to 99.87% within a laboratory for the sample platform, 98.59% to 99.86% across laboratories for the same platform, and 98.80% across genotyping platforms was observed. Moreover, arrays with low quality data were detected when comparing genotyping data from technical replicates, but they could not be detected according to venders' quality control (QC) suggestions. Our results demonstrated the technical reliability of currently available genotyping platforms but also indicated the importance of incorporating some technical replicates for genotyping QC in order to improve the reliability of GWAS results. The impact of discordant genotypes on association analysis results was simulated and could explain, at least in part, the irreproducibility of some GWAS findings when the effect size (i.e. the odds ratio) and the minor allele frequencies are low.

Concepts: Scientific method, Gene, Genetics, Genotype, Allele, Evolution, Phenotype, Genotype-phenotype distinction


 To assess the effect of the FTO genotype on weight loss after dietary, physical activity, or drug based interventions in randomised controlled trials.

Concepts: Genotype, Systematic review, Randomized controlled trial, Evaluation methods, Effect size, Meta-analysis, Genotype-phenotype distinction


Osteogenesis imperfecta (OI) is a congenital disorder characterized by increased bone fragility and low bone mass.

Concepts: Osteoporosis, Genetics, Natural selection, Genotype, Skeletal system, Phenotype, Genotype-phenotype distinction, Osteogenesis imperfecta


Background Whole-exome sequencing can provide insight into the relationship between observed clinical phenotypes and underlying genotypes. Methods We conducted a retrospective analysis of data from a series of 7374 consecutive unrelated patients who had been referred to a clinical diagnostic laboratory for whole-exome sequencing; our goal was to determine the frequency and clinical characteristics of patients for whom more than one molecular diagnosis was reported. The phenotypic similarity between molecularly diagnosed pairs of diseases was calculated with the use of terms from the Human Phenotype Ontology. Results A molecular diagnosis was rendered for 2076 of 7374 patients (28.2%); among these patients, 101 (4.9%) had diagnoses that involved two or more disease loci. We also analyzed parental samples, when available, and found that de novo variants accounted for 67.8% (61 of 90) of pathogenic variants in autosomal dominant disease genes and 51.7% (15 of 29) of pathogenic variants in X-linked disease genes; both variants were de novo in 44.7% (17 of 38) of patients with two monoallelic variants. Causal copy-number variants were found in 12 patients (11.9%) with multiple diagnoses. Phenotypic similarity scores were significantly lower among patients in whom the phenotype resulted from two distinct mendelian disorders that affected different organ systems (50 patients) than among patients with disorders that had overlapping phenotypic features (30 patients) (median score, 0.21 vs. 0.36; P=1.77×10(-7)). Conclusions In our study, we found multiple molecular diagnoses in 4.9% of cases in which whole-exome sequencing was informative. Our results show that structured clinical ontologies can be used to determine the degree of overlap between two mendelian diseases in the same patient; the diseases can be distinct or overlapping. Distinct disease phenotypes affect different organ systems, whereas overlapping disease phenotypes are more likely to be caused by two genes encoding proteins that interact within the same pathway. (Funded by the National Institutes of Health and the Ting Tsung and Wei Fong Chao Foundation.).

Concepts: Gene, Genetics, Genetic disorder, Genotype, Evolution, Classical genetics, Phenotype, Genotype-phenotype distinction



This study asks two related questions about the shifting landscape of marriage and reproduction in US society over the course of the last century with respect to a range of health and behavioral phenotypes and their associated genetic architecture: (i) Has assortment on measured genetic factors influencing reproductive and social fitness traits changed over the course of the 20th century? (ii) Has the genetic covariance between fitness (as measured by total fertility) and other traits changed over time? The answers to these questions inform our understanding of how the genetic landscape of American society has changed over the past century and have implications for population trends. We show that husbands and wives carry similar loadings for genetic factors related to education and height. However, the magnitude of this similarity is modest and has been fairly consistent over the course of the 20th century. This consistency is particularly notable in the case of education, for which phenotypic similarity among spouses has increased in recent years. Likewise, changing patterns of the number of children ever born by phenotype are not matched by shifts in genotype-fertility relationships over time. Taken together, these trends provide no evidence that social sorting is becoming increasingly genetic in nature or that dysgenic dynamics have accelerated.

Concepts: Gene, Natural selection, Reproduction, Genotype, Evolution, Phenotype, Heredity, Genotype-phenotype distinction


We explored the characteristics and motivations of people who, having obtained their genetic or genomic data from Direct-To-Consumer genetic testing (DTC-GT) companies, voluntarily decide to share them on the publicly accessible web platform openSNP. The study is the first attempt to describe open data sharing activities undertaken by individuals without institutional oversight. In the paper we provide a detailed overview of the distribution of the demographic characteristics and motivations of people engaged in genetic or genomic open data sharing. The geographical distribution of the respondents showed the USA as dominant. There was no significant gender divide, the age distribution was broad, educational background varied and respondents with and without children were equally represented. Health, even though prominent, was not the respondents' primary or only motivation to be tested. As to their motivations to openly share their data, 86.05% indicated wanting to learn about themselves as relevant, followed by contributing to the advancement of medical research (80.30%), improving the predictability of genetic testing (76.02%) and considering it fun to explore genotype and phenotype data (75.51%). Whereas most respondents were well aware of the privacy risks of their involvement in open genetic data sharing and considered the possibility of direct, personal repercussions troubling, they estimated the risk of this happening to be negligible. Our findings highlight the diversity of DTC-GT consumers who decide to openly share their data. Instead of focusing exclusively on health-related aspects of genetic testing and data sharing, our study emphasizes the importance of taking into account benefits and risks that stretch beyond the health spectrum. Our results thus lend further support to the call for a broader and multi-faceted conceptualization of genomic utility.

Concepts: Gene, Genetics, Genotype, Genome, Genomics, Phenotype, Demographics, Genotype-phenotype distinction


A transition between polymorphic phenotypes was observed within a single male Sternarchogiton nattereri. This individual was initially toothless, but developed into a toothed phenotype characterized by a swollen distal upper jaw and distinctive external dentition. Changes in morphological features were accompanied by shifts in electrocommunication (chirping) behaviour.

Concepts: Phenotype, Jaw, Genotype-phenotype distinction, Apteronotidae, Sternarchogiton nattereri, Sternarchogiton


Phytophthora capsici causes significant loss to pepper production in China and our objective was to investigate the population structure in Gansu province. Between 2007 and 2011, 279 isolates were collected from pepper at 24 locations. Isolates (or subsets) were assessed for simple sequence repeat (SSR) genotype, metalaxyl resistance, mating type, and physiological race using cultivars from the World Vegetable Center (AVRDC) and New Mexico Recombinant Inbred Lines (NMRIL’s). The A1 and A2 mating types were recovered from nine locations and metalaxyl resistant isolates from three locations. A total of 104 isolates tested on the AVRDC panel resolved five physiological races. None of 42 isolates tested on the NMRIL panel caused visible infection. SSR genotyping of 127 isolates revealed 59 unique genotypes with 42 present as singletons and 17 having between 2 and 13 isolates. Isolates with identical genotypes were recovered from multiple sites across multiple years and in many cases had different race types and/or metalaxyl sensitivities. Isolates clustered into three groups with each group having almost exclusively the A1 or A2 mating type. Overall it appears long-lived genetically diverse clonal lineages are dispersed across Gansu, outcrossing is rare, and functionally important variation exists within a clonal framework.

Concepts: DNA, Gene, Genetics, Evolution, Biology, Race, Genotype-phenotype distinction, Phytophthora capsici


Nicolaides-Baraitser syndrome (NCBRS) is an intellectual disability (ID)/multiple congenital anomalies syndrome caused by non-truncating mutations in the ATPase region of SMARCA2, which codes for one of the two alternative catalytic subunits of the BAF chromatin remodeling complex. We analyzed 61 molecularly confirmed cases, including all previously reported patients (n = 47) and 14 additional unpublished individuals. NCBRS is clinically and genetically homogeneous. The cardinal features (ID, short stature, microcephaly, typical face, sparse hair, brachydactyly, prominent interphalangeal joints, behavioral problems and seizures), are almost universally present. There is variability however, as ID can range from severe to mild, and sparse hair may be present only in certain age groups. There may be a correlation between the severity of the ID and presence of seizures, absent speech, short stature and microcephaly. SMARCA2 mutations causing NCBRS are likely to act through a dominant-negative effect. There may be some genotype-phenotype correlations (mutations at domain VI with severe ID and seizures; mutations affecting residues Pro883, Leu946, and Ala1201 with mild phenotypes) but numbers are still too small to draw definitive conclusions. © 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

Concepts: DNA, Gene, Genetics, Genotype, Evolution, Phenotype, Human height, Genotype-phenotype distinction