Rare Complete Knockouts in Humans: Population Distribution and Significant Role in Autism Spectrum Disorders
Lim ET., Raychaudhuri S., Sanders SJ., Stevens C., Sabo A., MacArthur DG., Neale BM., Kirby A., Ruderfer DM., Fromer M., Lek M., Liu L., Flannick J., Ripke S., Nagaswamy U., Muzny D., Reid JG., Hawes A., Newsham I., Wu Y., Lewis L., Dinh H., Gross S., Wang LS., Lin CF., Valladares O., Gabriel SB., dePristo M., Altshuler DM., Purcell SM., State MW., Boerwinkle E., Buxbaum JD., Cook EH., Gibbs RA., Schellenberg GD., Sutcliffe JS., Devlin B., Roeder K., Daly MJ.
To characterize the role of rare complete human knockouts in autism spectrum disorders (ASDs), we identify genes with homozygous or compound heterozygous loss-of-function (LoF) variants (defined as nonsense and essential splice sites) from exome sequencing of 933 cases and 869 controls. We identify a 2-fold increase in complete knockouts of autosomal genes with low rates of LoF variation (≤5% frequency) in cases and estimate a 3% contribution to ASD risk by these events, confirming this observation in an independent set of 563 probands and 4,605 controls. Outside the pseudoautosomal regions on the X chromosome, we similarly observe a significant 1.5-fold increase in rare hemizygous knockouts in males, contributing to another 2% of ASDs in males. Taken together, these results provide compelling evidence that rare autosomal and X chromosome complete gene knockouts are important inherited risk factors for ASD.