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Cerebral visual impairment: genetic diagnoses and phenotypic associations.

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Shaw, Emogene 
Flitcroft, Ian 
Bowman, Richard 
Genomics England Research Consortium 


BACKGROUND: Cerebral visual impairment (CVI) is the most common form of paediatric visual impairment in developed countries. CVI can arise from a host of genetic or acquired causes, but there has been limited research to date on CVI in the context of genetic disorders. METHODS: We carried out a retrospective analysis of genotypic and phenotypic data for participants with CVI within the DECIPHER database and 100 000 Genomes Project (100KGP). RESULTS: 158 individuals with CVI were identified across both cohorts. Within this group, pathogenic or likely pathogenic sequence variants in 173 genes were identified. 25 of these genes already have known associations with CVI, while the remaining 148 are candidate genes for this phenotype. Gene ontology analysis of the CVI gene sets from both DECIPHER and 100KGP suggests that CVI has a similar degree of genetic heterogeneity to other neurodevelopmental phenotypes, and a strong association with genetic variants converging on ion channels and receptor functions. Individuals with a monogenic disorder and CVI have a higher frequency of epilepsies and severe neurodisability than individuals with a monogenic disorder but not CVI. CONCLUSION: This study supports the availability of genetic testing for individuals with CVI alongside other neurodevelopmental difficulties. It also supports the availability of ophthalmological screening for individuals with genetic diagnoses linked to CVI. Further studies could elaborate on the links between specific genetic disorders, visual maturation and broader neurodevelopmental characteristics.


Peer reviewed: True


Epilepsy, Genetics, Genomics, Ophthalmology

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J Med Genet

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MRC (MC_UU_00030/3)