Background: Spinocerebellar ataxias are often caused by expansions of short tandem repeats. Recent methodological advances have made repeat expansion (RE) detection with whole-genome sequencing (WGS) feasible. Objectives: The objective of this study was to determine the genetic basis of ataxia in a multigenerational Australian pedigree with autosomal-dominant inheritance. Methods and Results: WGS was performed on 3 affected relatives. The sequence data were screened for known pathogenic REs using 2 RE detection tools: exSTRa and ExpansionHunter. This screen provided a clear and rapid diagnosis (<5 days from receiving the sequencing data) of spinocerebellar ataxia 36, a rare form of ataxia caused by an intronic GGCCTG RE in NOP56. Conclusions: The diagnosis of rare ataxias caused by REs is highly feasible and cost-effective with WGS. We propose that WGS could potentially be implemented as the frontline, cost-effective methodology for the molecular testing of individuals with a clinical diagnosis of ataxia.
- repeat expansions
- short tandem repeats