6 March 2018

Recently Jakob Goldmann and Christian Gilissen, resp. themes Reconstructive and regenerative medicine and Mitochondrial diseases published an article in Nature genetics.

Publication: Germline de novo mutation clusters arise during oocyte aging in genomic regions with high double-strand-break incidence.

Clustering of mutations has been observed in cancer genomes as well as for germline de novo mutations (DNMs). We identified 1,796 clustered DNMs (cDNMs) within whole-genome-sequencing data from 1,291 parent–offspring trios to investigate their patterns and infer a mutational mechanism. We found that the number of clusters on the maternal allele was positively correlated with maternal age and that these clusters consisted of more individual mutations with larger intermutational distances than those of paternal clusters. More than 50% of maternal clusters were located on chromosomes 8, 9 and 16, in previously identified regions with accelerated maternal mutation rates. Maternal clusters in these regions showed a distinct mutation signature characterized by C>G transversions. Finally, we found that maternal clusters were associated with processes involving double-strand-breaks (DSBs), such as meiotic gene conversions and de novo deletion events. This result suggested accumulation of DSB-induced mutations throughout oocyte aging as the mechanism underlying the formation of maternal mutation clusters.

Christian Gilissen
Jakob Goldmann

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