Somatic Mutations and Cell Lineage in the Human Brain
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Genetic mutations causing human disease are conventionally thought to be inherited from one's parents and present in all somatic (body) cells. Increasingly however, somatic mutations are implicated in neurological diseases. Somatic mutations that arise during the cell divisions of prenatal brain development are inherited in clonal fashion and can cause neurodevelopmental diseases, even when present at low levels of mosaicism.
In this study we use whole genome sequencing of single neurons and bulk tissue to identify somatic mutations in control, and some disease, brains to: 1) identify and catalogue the mutations which shape the somatic neuronal genome; 2) perform a cell lineage analysis of the adult human brain using clonal somatic mutations in cortical neurons; 3) determine patterns of somatic mutations at different ages and in aging related disease phenotypes; and 4) relate cell lineage patterns to cell phenotype in the human brain by separating neuronal, glial, and other cell types.