J Hum Genet. 2022 Jun 20. doi: 10.1038/s10038-022-01051-y. Online ahead of print.
Although several genes involved in the development of Tetralogy of Fallot have been identified, no genetic diagnosis is available for the majority of patients. Low statistical power may have prevented the identification of further causative genes in gene-by-gene survey analyses. Thus, bigger samples and/or novel analytic approaches may be necessary. We studied if a joint analysis of groups of functionally related genes might be a useful alternative approach. Our reanalysis of whole-exome sequencing data identified 12 groups of genes that exceedingly contribute to the burden of Tetralogy of Fallot. Further analysis of those groups showed that genes with high-impact variants tend to interact with each other. Thus, our results strongly suggest that additional candidate genes may be found by studying the protein interaction network of known causative genes. Moreover, our results show that the joint analysis of functionally related genes can be a useful complementary approach to classical single-gene analyses.