A comparison of genomic diagnostics in adults and children with epilepsy and comorbid intellectual disability

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Katherine A. Benson, Maire White, Nicholas M. Allen, Susan Byrne, Robert Carton, Elizabeth Comerford, Daniel Costello, Colin Doherty, Brendan Dunleavey, Hany El-Naggar, Nisha Gangadharan, Sinéad Heavin, Hugh Kearney, Nicholas J. Lench, John Lynch, Mark McCormack, Mary O’ Regan, Karl Podesta, Kevin Power, Anthony S. Rogers, Charles A. Steward, Brian Sweeney, David Webb, Mary Fitzsimons, Marie Greally, Norman Delanty & Gianpiero L. Cavalleri


Next generation sequencing provides an important opportunity for improved diagnosis in epilepsy. To date, the majority of diagnostic genetic testing is conducted in the paediatric arena, while the utility of such testing is less well understood in adults with epilepsy. We conducted whole exome sequencing (WES) and copy number variant analyses in an Irish cohort of 101 people with epilepsy and co-morbid intellectual disability to compare the diagnostic yield of genomic testing between adult and paediatric patients. Variant interpretation followed American College of Medical Genetics and Genomics (ACMG) guidelines. We demonstrate that WES, in combination with array-comparative genomic hybridisation, provides a diagnostic rate of 27% in unrelated adult epilepsy patients and 42% in unrelated paediatric patients. We observe a 2.7% rate of ACMG-defined incidental findings. Our findings indicate that WES has similar utility in both adult and paediatric cohorts and is appropriate for diagnostic testing in both epilepsy patient groups.


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