Genome sequencing as a first-line diagnostic test for hospitalized infants

Academic Article


  • Purpose: SouthSeq is a translational research study that undertook genome sequencing (GS) for infants with symptoms suggestive of a genetic disorder. Recruitment targeted racial/ethnic minorities and rural, medically underserved areas in the Southeastern United States, which are historically underrepresented in genomic medicine research. Methods: GS and analysis were performed for 367 infants to detect disease-causal variation concurrent with standard of care evaluation and testing. Results: Definitive diagnostic (DD) or likely diagnostic (LD) genetic findings were identified in 30% of infants, and 14% of infants harbored an uncertain result. Only 43% of DD/LD findings were identified via concurrent clinical genetic testing, suggesting that GS testing is better for obtaining early genetic diagnosis. We also identified phenotypes that correlate with the likelihood of receiving a DD/LD finding, such as craniofacial, ophthalmologic, auditory, skin, and hair abnormalities. We did not observe any differences in diagnostic rates between racial/ethnic groups. Conclusion: We describe one of the largest-to-date GS cohorts of ill infants, enriched for African American and rural patients. Our results show the utility of GS because it provides early-in-life detection of clinically relevant genetic variations not detected by current clinical genetic testing, particularly for infants exhibiting certain phenotypic features.
  • Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Bowling KM; Thompson ML; Finnila CR; Hiatt SM; Latner DR; Amaral MD; Lawlor JMJ; East KM; Cochran ME; Greve V
  • Start Page

  • 851
  • End Page

  • 861
  • Volume

  • 24
  • Issue

  • 4