Diagnostic yield of candidate genes in an Australian corneal dystrophy cohort

Emmanuelle Souzeau, Owen M. Siggs, Sean Mullany, Joshua M. Schmidt, Mark M. Hassall, Andrew Dubowsky, Angela Chappell, James Breen, Haae Bae, Jillian Nicholl, Johanna Hadler, Lisa S. Kearns, Sandra E. Staffieri, Alex W. Hewitt, David A. Mackey, Aanchal Gupta, Kathryn P. Burdon, Sonja Klebe, Jamie E. Craig, Richard A. Mills

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Corneal dystrophies describe a clinically and genetically heterogeneous group of inherited disorders. The International Classification of Corneal Dystrophies (IC3D) lists 22 types of corneal dystrophy, 17 of which have been demonstrated to result from pathogenic variants in 19 identified genes. In this study, we investigated the diagnostic yield of genetic testing in a well-characterised cohort of 58 individuals from 44 families with different types of corneal dystrophy. Individuals diagnosed solely with Fuchs endothelial corneal dystrophy were excluded. Clinical details were obtained from the treating ophthalmologist. Participants and their family members were tested using a gene candidate and exome sequencing approach. We identified a likely molecular diagnosis in 70.5% families (31/44). The detection rate was significantly higher among probands with a family history of corneal dystrophy (15/16, 93.8%) than those without (16/28, 57.1%, p =.015), and among those who had undergone corneal graft surgery (9/9, 100.0%) compared to those who had not (22/35, 62.9%, p =.041). We identified eight novel variants in five genes and identified five families with syndromes associated with corneal dystrophies. Our findings highlight the genetic heterogeneity of corneal dystrophies and the clinical utility of genetic testing in reaching an accurate clinical diagnosis.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere2023
Number of pages15
JournalMolecular Genetics and Genomic Medicine
Issue number10
Early online date19 Aug 2022
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2022


  • corneal dystrophy
  • genetic testing
  • molecular diagnosis


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