Molecular Genetics and Genomic Medicine
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Background: Although genetic factors are known to contribute to neurodegenerative disease susceptibility, there remains a large amount of heritability unaccounted for across the diagnoses. Copy number variants (CNVs) contribute to these phenotypes, but their presence and influence on disease state remains relatively understudied. Methods: Here, we applied a depth of coverage approach to detect CNVs in 80 genes previously associated with neurodegenerative disease within participants of the Ontario Neurodegenerative Disease Research Initiative (n = 519). Results: In total, we identified and validated four CNVs in the cohort, including: (1) a heterozygous deletion of exon 5 in OPTN in an Alzheimer's disease participant; (2) a duplication of exons 1–5 in PARK7 in an amyotrophic lateral sclerosis participant; (3) a duplication of >3 Mb, which encompassed ABCC6, in a cerebrovascular disease (CVD) participant; and (4) a duplication of exons 7–11 in SAMHD1 in a mild cognitive impairment participant. We also identified 43 additional CNVs that may be candidates for future replication studies. Conclusion: The identification of the CNVs suggests a portion of the apparent missing heritability of the phenotypes may be due to these structural variants, and their assessment is imperative for a thorough understanding of the genetic spectrum of neurodegeneration.