Health and population effects of rare gene knockouts in adult humans with related parents
On average, most people's genomes contain approximately 100 completely nonfunctional genes. These loss-of-function (LOF) mutations tend to be rare and/or occur only as a single copy within individuals. Narasimhan et al investigated LOF in a Pakistani population with high levels of consanguinity. Examining LOF alleles that were identical by descent, they found, as expected, an absence of homozygote LOF for certain protein-coding genes. However, they also identified many homozygote LOF alleles with no apparent deleterious phenotype, including some that were expected to confer genetic disease. Indeed, one family had lost the recombination-associated gene PRDM9.