Nat Genet. 2023 Dec 6. doi: 10.1038/s41588-023-01608-3. Online ahead of print.
Recessive diseases arise when both copies of a gene are impacted by a damaging genetic variant. When a patient carries two potentially causal variants in a gene, accurate diagnosis requires determining that these variants occur on different copies of the chromosome (that is, are in trans) rather than on the same copy (that is, in cis). However, current approaches for determining phase, beyond parental testing, are limited in clinical settings. Here we developed a strategy for inferring phase for rare variant pairs within genes, leveraging genotypes observed in the Genome Aggregation Database (v2, n = 125,748 exomes). Our approach estimates phase with 96% accuracy, both in trio data and in patients with Mendelian conditions and presumed causal compound heterozygous variants. We provide a public resource of phasing estimates for coding variants and counts per gene of rare variants in trans that can aid interpretation of rare co-occurring variants in the context of recessive disease.