Association of deep phenotyping with diagnostic yield of prenatal exome sequencing for fetal brain abnormalities

Kathleen A. Drexler*, Asha N. Talati, Kelly L. Gilmore, Rachel V. Veazey, Bradford C. Powell, Karen E. Weck, Erica E. Davis, Neeta L. Vora

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: To evaluate whether deep prenatal phenotyping of fetal brain abnormalities (FBAs) increases diagnostic yield of trio-exome sequencing (ES) compared with standard phenotyping. Methods: Retrospective exploratory analysis of a multicenter prenatal ES study. Participants were eligible if an FBA was diagnosed and subsequently found to have a normal microarray. Deep phenotyping was defined as phenotype based on targeted ultrasound plus prenatal/postnatal magnetic resonance imaging, autopsy, and/or known phenotypes of other affected family members. Standard phenotyping was based on targeted ultrasound alone. FBAs were categorized by major brain findings on prenatal ultrasound. Cases with positive ES results were compared with those that have negative results by available phenotyping, as well as diagnosed FBAs. Results: A total of 76 trios with FBAs were identified, of which 25 (33%) cases had positive ES results and 51 (67%) had negative results. Individual modalities of deep phenotyping were not associated with diagnostic ES results. The most common FBAs identified were posterior fossa anomalies and midline defects. Neural tube defects were significantly associated with receipt of a negative ES result (0% vs 22%, P = .01). Conclusion: Deep phenotyping was not associated with increased diagnostic yield of ES for FBA in this small cohort. Neural tube defects were associated with negative ES results.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number100915
JournalGenetics in Medicine
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2023


  • Congenital anomalies
  • Deep phenotyping
  • Exome sequencing
  • Fetal brain anomalies
  • Prenatal diagnosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics(clinical)


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