Judy H. Cho
Profile Url: judy-h--cho
Researcher at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, NY, USA
As part of a broader collaborative network of exome sequencing studies, we developed a jointly called data set of 5,685 Ashkenazi Jewish exomes. We make publicly available a resource of site and allele frequencies, which should serve as a reference for medical genetics in the Ashkenazim. We estimate that 30% of protein-coding alleles present in the Ashkenazi Jewish population at frequencies greater than 0.2% are significantly more frequent (mean 7.6-fold) than their maximum frequency observed in other reference populations. Arising via a well-described founder effect, this catalog of enriched alleles can contribute to differences in genetic risk and overall prevalence of diseases between populations. As validation we document 151 AJ enriched protein-altering alleles that overlap with ``pathogenic" ClinVar alleles, including those that account for 10-100 fold differences in prevalence between AJ and non-AJ populations of some rare diseases including Gaucher disease (GBA, p.Asn409Ser, 8-fold enrichment); Canavan disease (ASPA, p.Glu285Ala, 12-fold enrichment); and Tay-Sachs disease (HEXA, c.1421+1G>C, 27-fold enrichment; p.Tyr427IlefsTer5, 12-fold enrichment). We next sought to use this catalog, of well-established relevance to Mendelian disease, to explore Crohn's disease, a common disease with an estimated two to four-fold excess prevalence in AJ. We specifically evaluate whether strong acting rare alleles, enriched by the same founder-effect, contribute excess genetic risk to Crohn's disease in AJ, and find that ten rare genetic risk factors in NOD2 and LRRK2 are strongly enriched in AJ, including several novel contributing alleles, show evidence of association to CD. Independently, we find that genomewide common variant risk defined by GWAS shows a strong difference between AJ and non-AJ European control population samples (0.97 s.d. higher, p<10-16). Taken together, the results suggest coordinated selection in AJ population for higher CD risk alleles in general. The results and approach illustrate the value of exome sequencing data in case-control studies along with reference data sets like ExAC to pinpoint genetic variation that contributes to variable disease predisposition across populations.
Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is a chronic gastrointestinal inflammatory disorder that affects millions worldwide. Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have identified 200 IBD-associated loci, but few have been conclusively resolved to specific functional variants. Here we report fine-mapping of 94 IBD loci using high-density genotyping in 67,852 individuals. Of the 139 independent associations identified in these regions, 18 were pinpointed to a single causal variant with >95% certainty, and an additional 27 associations to a single variant with >50% certainty. These 45 variants are significantly enriched for protein-coding changes (n=13), direct disruption of transcription factor binding sites (n=3) and tissue specific epigenetic marks (n=10), with the latter category showing enrichment in specific immune cells among associations stronger in CD and gut mucosa among associations stronger in UC. The results of this study suggest that high-resolution, fine-mapping in large samples can convert many GWAS discoveries into statistically convincing causal variants, providing a powerful substrate for experimental elucidation of disease mechanisms.