Standards and guidelines for the interpretation of sequence variants: A joint consensus recommendation of the American College of Medical Genetics and Genomics and the Association for Molecular Pathology

Carolyn (Sue) Richards, Nazneen Aziz, Sherri Bale, David Bick, Soma Das, Julie Gastier-Foster, Wayne W. Grody, Madhuri Hegde, Elaine Lyon, Elaine Spector, Karl Voelkerding, Heidi L. Rehm

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

4948 Scopus citations

Abstract

The American College of Medical Genetics and Genomics (ACMG) previously developed guidance for the interpretation of sequence variants.1 In the past decade, sequencing technology has evolved rapidly with the advent of high-throughput next-generation sequencing. By adopting and leveraging next-generation sequencing, clinical laboratories are now performing an ever-increasing catalogue of genetic testing spanning genotyping, single genes, gene panels, exomes, genomes, transcriptomes, and epigenetic assays for genetic disorders. By virtue of increased complexity, this shift in genetic testing has been accompanied by new challenges in sequence interpretation. In this context the ACMG convened a workgroup in 2013 comprising representatives from the ACMG, the Association for Molecular Pathology (AMP), and the College of American Pathologists to revisit and revise the standards and guidelines for the interpretation of sequence variants. The group consisted of clinical laboratory directors and clinicians. This report represents expert opinion of the workgroup with input from ACMG, AMP, and College of American Pathologists stakeholders. These recommendations primarily apply to the breadth of genetic tests used in clinical laboratories, including genotyping, single genes, panels, exomes, and genomes. This report recommends the use of specific standard terminology-"pathogenic," "likely pathogenic," "uncertain significance," "likely benign," and "benign"-to describe variants identified in genes that cause Mendelian disorders. Moreover, this recommendation describes a process for classifying variants into these five categories based on criteria using typical types of variant evidence (e.g., population data, computational data, functional data, segregation data). Because of the increased complexity of analysis and interpretation of clinical genetic testing described in this report, the ACMG strongly recommends that clinical molecular genetic testing should be performed in a Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments-approved laboratory, with results interpreted by a board-certified clinical molecular geneticist or molecular genetic pathologist or the equivalent.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)405-424
Number of pages20
JournalGenetics in Medicine
Volume17
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - May 8 2015

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Keywords

  • ACMG laboratory guideline
  • clinical genetic testing
  • interpretation
  • reporting
  • sequence variant terminology
  • variant reporting

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics(clinical)

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