Pathogenic variant-based preconception carrier screening in the Israeli Jewish population

Bella Davidov*, Amit Levon, Hadas Volkov, Naama Orenstein, Racheli Karo, Inbal Fatal Gazit, Nurit Magal, Lina Basel-Salmon, Michal Golan Mashiach

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Preconception carrier screening allows identification of couples at risk to have offspring with autosomal recessive and X-linked disorders. In a current multiethnic world, screening based on self-reported ancestry has limitations. Here we describe the findings of a comprehensive pan-ethnic variant-based carrier screening, using the Israeli Jewish population as a model. The cohort included 1696 individuals (848 couples) tested with the ‘MyScreen’ multigene panel. The panel covers 1206 variants spanning 385 genes, known in different Jewish ethnicities and local Arab, Druze and Bedouin populations. Out of these, 205 variants in 143 genes are Jewish founder variants. We identified 859 (50.6%), carriers of at least one variant in 151 genes. Importantly, 569 (66.2%) of carriers could be missed by the current Israeli screening program. In total, 1:40 (2.5%) of carrier couples were identified by the ‘MyScreen’ panel, compared with 1:144 (0.7%) found by the ethnicity-based screening. Surprisingly, 90 individuals (10.5%) were carriers of variants “unexpected” for their reported origin, and 16 variants were previously unreported in Jewish patients. Our results support the advantages of variant-based comprehensive carrier screening for detection of carriers and at-risk couples in a diverse population with many founder disease-causing variants.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)517-529
Number of pages13
JournalClinical Genetics
Issue number5-6
StatePublished - 1 May 2022


  • Jewish population
  • NGS
  • at-risk couples rate
  • carrier frequency
  • pathogenic variants
  • preconception expanded pan-ethnic screening


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