Non-syndromic intellectual disability is genetically heterogeneous with dominant, recessive and complex forms of inheritance. We have performed detailed genetic studies in a large multi-generational Swedish family, including several members diagnosed with non-syndromic intellectual disability. Linkage analysis was performed on 22 family members, nine affected with mild to moderate intellectual disability and 13 unaffected family members.
Family members were analyzed with Affymetrix Genome-Wide Human SNP Array 6.0 and the genetic data was used to detect copy number variation and to perform genome wide linkage analysis with the SNP High Throughput Linkage analysis system and the Merlin software. For the exome sequencing, the samples were prepared using the Sure Select Human All Exon Kit (Agilent Technologies, Santa Clara, CA, USA) and sequenced using the Ion Proton™ System. Validation of identified variants was performed with Sanger sequencing.
The linkage analysis results indicate that intellectual disability in this family is genetically heterogeneous, with suggestive linkage found on chromosomes 1q31-q41, 4q32-q35, 6p25 and 14q24-q31 (LOD scores of 2.4, simulated p-value of 0.000003 and a simulated genome-wide p-value of 0.06). Exome sequencing was then performed in 14 family members and 7 unrelated individuals from the same region. The analysis of coding variation revealed a pathogenic and candidate variants in different branches of the family. In three patients we find a known homozygous pathogenic mutation in the Homo sapiens solute carrier family 17 member 5 (SLC17A5), causing Salla disease. We also identify a deletion overlapping KDM3B and a duplication overlapping MAP3K4 and AGPAT4, both overlapping variants previously reported in developmental disorders.
DNA samples from the large family analyzed in this study were initially collected based on a hypothesis that affected members shared a major genetic risk factor. Our results show that a complex phenotype such as mild intellectual disability in large families from genetically isolated populations may show considerable genetic heterogeneity.