Congenital autosomal recessive cataract with unknown genetic etiology is one of the most common Mendelian diseases among the Turkic-speaking Yakut population (Eastern Siberia, Russia). To identify the genetic cause of congenital cataract spread in this population, we performed whole-exome sequencing (Illumina NextSeq 500) in one Yakut family with three affected siblings whose parents had preserved vision. We have revealed the novel homozygous c.1621C>T transition leading to premature stop codon p.(Gln541*) in exon 8 of the FYCO1 gene (NM_024513.4). Subsequent screening of c.1621C>T p.(Gln541*) revealed this variant in a homozygous state in 25 out of 29 Yakut families with congenital cataract (86%). Among 424 healthy individuals from seven populations of Eastern Siberia (Russians, Yakuts, Evenks, Evens, Dolgans, Chukchi, and Yukaghirs), the highest carrier frequency of c.1621C>T p.(Gln541*) was found in the Yakut population (7.9%). DNA samples of 25 homozygous for c.1621C>T p.(Gln541*) patients with congenital cataract and 114 unaffected unrelated individuals without this variant were used for a haplotype analysis based on the genotyping of six STR markers (D3S3512, D3S3685, D3S3582, D3S3561, D3S1289, and D3S3698). The structure of the identified haplotypes indicates a common origin for all of the studied mutant chromosomes bearing c.1621C>T p.(Gln541*). The age of the с.1621C>T p.(Gln541*) founder haplotype was estimated to be approximately 260 ± 65 years (10 generations). These findings characterize Eastern Siberia as the region of the world with the most extensive accumulation of the unique variant c.1621C>T p.(Gln541*) in the FYCO1 gene as a result of the founder effect.
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