Global Developmental Delay/Intellectual disability (ID) is the term used to describe various disorders caused by abnormal brain development and characterized by impairments in cognition, communication, behavior, or motor skills. In the past few years, whole-exome sequencing (WES) has been proven to be a powerful, robust, and scalable approach for candidate gene discoveries in consanguineous populations. In this study, we recruited 215 patients affected with ID from 118 Middle Eastern families. Whole-exome sequencing was completed for 188 individuals. The average age at which WES was completed was 8.5 years. Pathogenic or likely pathogenic variants were detected in 32/118 families (27%). Variants of uncertain significance were seen in 33/118 families (28%). The candidate genes with a possible association with ID were detected in 32/118 (27%) with a total number of 64 affected individuals. These genes are novel, were previously reported in a single family, or cause strikingly different phenotypes with a different mode of inheritance. These genes included: AATK, AP1G2, CAMSAP1, CCDC9B, CNTROB, DNAH14, DNAJB4, DRG1, DTNBP1, EDRF1, EEF1D, EXOC8, EXOSC4, FARSB, FBXO22, FILIP1, INPP4A, P2RX7, PRDM13, PTRHD1, SCN10A, SCYL2, SMG8, SUPV3L1, TACC2, THUMPD1, XPR1, ZFYVE28. During the 5 years of the study and through gene matching databases, several of these genes have now been confirmed as causative of ID. In conclusion, understanding the causes of ID will help understand biological mechanisms, provide precise counseling for affected families, and aid in primary prevention.
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