Purpose: Newborn screening (NBS) is performed to identify neonates at risk for actionable, severe, early-onset disorders, many of which are genetic. The BabySeq Project randomized neonates to receive conventional NBS or NBS plus exome sequencing (ES) capable of detecting sequence variants that may also diagnose monogenic disease or indicate genetic disease risk. We therefore evaluated how ES and conventional NBS results differ in this population. Methods: We compared results of NBS (including hearing screens) and ES for 159 infants in the BabySeq Project. Infants were considered “NBS positive” if any abnormal result was found indicating disease risk and “ES positive” if ES identified a monogenic disease risk or a genetic diagnosis. Results: Most infants (132/159, 84%) were NBS and ES negative. Only one infant was positive for the same disorder by both modalities. Nine infants were NBS positive/ES negative, though seven of these were subsequently determined to be false positives. Fifteen infants were ES positive/NBS negative, all of which represented risk of genetic conditions that are not included in NBS programs. No genetic explanation was identified for eight infants referred on the hearing screen. Conclusion: These differences highlight the complementarity of information that may be gleaned from NBS and ES in the newborn period.
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