Identification of cis-regulatory sequence variations in individual genome sequences
Functional contributions of cis-regulatory sequence variations to human genetic disease are numerous. For instance, disrupting variations in a HNF4A transcription factor binding site upstream of the Factor IX gene contributes causally to hemophilia B Leyden. Although clinical genome sequence analysis currently focuses on the identification of protein-altering variation, the impact of cis-regulatory mutations can be similarly strong. New technologies are now enabling genome sequencing beyond exomes, revealing variation across the non-coding 98% of the genome responsible for developmental and physiological patterns of gene activity. The capacity to identify causal regulatory mutations is improving, but predicting functional changes in regulatory DNA sequences remains a great challenge. Here we explore the existing methods and software for prediction of functional variation situated in the cis-regulatory sequences governing gene transcription and RNA processing.