Zhang Y, Yang W, Wen G, et al. Application whole exome sequencing for the clinical molecular diagnosis of patients with Duchenne muscular dystrophy; identification of four novel nonsense mutations in four unrelated Chinese DMD patients. Molecular genetics & genomic medicine 2019;7:e622
Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) and Becker muscular dystrophy (BMD) are X-linked recessive, inherited neuromuscular disorders, caused by pathogenic variants in the dystrophin gene that encodes the dystrophin protein. A number of mutations have been identified in the past years, producing dystrophin diversity and resulting in mild to severe phenotypes in patients. Mutations in the dystrophin gene can be characterized by laboratory testing to confirm a clinical diagnosis of DMD/BMD. Traditional genetic diagnostic strategy for DMD/BMD involves the initial detection of large mutations, followed by the detection of smaller mutations, where two or more analytical methods are employed. With the development of next generation sequencing (NGS) technology, comprehensive mutational screening for all variant types can be performed on a single platform in patients and carriers, although further optimization and validation are required. Furthermore, the discovery of cell-free fetal DNA (cffDNA) in maternal plasma provides basis for noninvasive prenatal diagnosis of DMD/BMD. Here, we discuss the correlation between genotype and phenotype, the current methods of molecular genetic testing and genetic diagnostic strategy for probands and female carriers of DMD/BMD, the diagnostic ability of a comprehensive targeted NGS strategy and the possibility of it replacing conventional methods.