Exome sequencing in every pregnancy? Results of trio exome sequencing in structurally normal fetuses

Michal Levy, Shira Lifshitz, Mirela Goldenberg-Fumanov, Lily Bazak, Rayna Joy Goldstein, Uri Hamiel, Rachel Berger, Shlomo Lipitz, Idit Maya, Mordechai Shohat

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: This study aimed to assess the detection rate of clinically significant results of prenatal exome sequencing (pES) in low-risk pregnancies and apparently normal fetuses in non-consanguineous couples. Methods: A retrospective analysis of pES conducted at a single center from January 2020 to September 2023 was performed. Genetic counseling was provided, and detailed medical histories were obtained. High-risk pregnancies were excluded due to major ultrasound anomalies, sonographic soft markers, abnormal maternal biochemical screening, or family history suggestive of monogenic diseases as well as cases with pathogenic and likely pathogenic (P/LP) chromosomal microarray results. Exome analysis focused on ∼2100 genes associated with Mendelian genetic disorders. Variant analysis and classification followed the American College of Medical Genetics and Genomics (ACMG) guidelines. Results: Among 1825 pES conducted, 1020 low-risk cases revealed 28 fetuses (2.7%) with potentially clinically significant variants indicating known monogenic diseases, primarily de novo dominant variants (64%). Among these 28 cases, 9 fetuses (0.9%) had the potential for severe phenotypes, including shortened lifespan and intellectual disability, and another 12 had the potential for milder phenotypes. Seven cases were reported with variants of uncertain significance (VUS) that, according to the ACMG criteria, leaned toward LP, constituting 0.7% of the entire cohort. Termination of pregnancy was elected in 13 out of 1020 cases (1.2%) in the cohort, including 7/9 in the severe phenotypes group, 2/12 in the milder phenotype group, and 4/7 in the VUS group. Conclusion: The 2.7% detection rate highlights the significant contribution of pES in low-risk pregnancies. However, it necessitates rigorous analysis, and comprehensive genetic counseling before and after testing.

Original languageEnglish
JournalPrenatal Diagnosis
Early online date12 May 2024
StateE-pub ahead of print - 12 May 2024
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2024 The Authors. Prenatal Diagnosis published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.


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