Comprehensive Genetic Analysis of Druze Provides Insights into Carrier Screening

Eden Avnat, Guy Shapira, Shelly Shoval, Ifat Israel-Elgali, Anna Alkelai, Alan R. Shuldiner, Claudia Gonzaga-Jauregui, Jamal Zidan, Taiseer Maray, Noam Shomron*, Eitan Friedman*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Druze individuals, like many genetically homogeneous and isolated populations, harbor recurring pathogenic variants (PV) in autosomal recessive (AR) disorders. Methods: Variant calling of whole-genome sequencing (WGS) of 40 Druze from the Human Genome Diversity Project (HGDP) was performed (HGDP-cohort). Additionally, we performed whole exome sequencing (WES) of 118 Druze individuals: 38 trios and 2 couples, representing geographically distinct clans (WES-cohort). Rates of validated PV were compared with rates in worldwide and Middle Eastern populations, from the gnomAD and dbSNP datasets. Results: Overall, 34 PVs were identified: 30 PVs in genes underlying AR disorders, 3 additional PVs were associated with autosomal dominant (AD) disorders, and 1 PV with X-linked-dominant inherited disorder in the WES cohort. Conclusions: The newly identified PVs associated with AR conditions should be considered for incorporation into prenatal-screening options offered to Druze individuals after an extension and validation of the results in a larger study.

Original languageEnglish
Article number937
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2023


  • druze
  • founder population
  • genetic isolate
  • recurring pathogenic variants
  • whole exome sequencing


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