Linking genome variants to disease: Scalable approaches to test the functional impact of human mutations

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The application of genomics to medicine has accelerated the discovery of mutations underlying disease and enhanced our knowledge of the molecular underpinnings of diverse pathologies. As the amount of human genetic material queried via sequencing has grown exponentially in recent years, so too has the number of rare variants observed. Despite progress, our ability to distinguish which rare variants have clinical significance remains limited. Over the last decade, however, powerful experimental approaches have emerged to characterise variant effects orders of magnitude faster than before. Fuelled by improved DNA synthesis and sequencing, and more recently by CRISPR/Cas9 genome editing, multiplex functional assays provide a means of generating variant effect data in wide-ranging experimental systems. Here, I review recent applications of multiplex assays that link human variants to disease phenotypes and describe emerging strategies that will enhance their clinical utility in coming years.

Journal details

Volume 30
Issue number 20
Pages R187-R197
Available online
Publication date

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Crick First author
Crick Corresponding author