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Ferrier R.A.,Medical Genetic Services | Connolly-Wilson M.,Provincial Medical Genetics Program | Fitzpatrick J.,McGill University | Grewal S.,Genetics | And 3 more authors.
Journal of Genetic Counseling | Year: 2013

Numerous groups of health professionals have undertaken the task of defining core competencies for their profession. The goal of establishing core competencies is to have a defined standard for such professional needs as practice guidelines, training curricula, certification, continuing competency and re-entry to practice. In 2006, the Canadian Association of Genetic Counsellors (CAGC) recognized the need for uniform practice standards for the profession in Canada, given the rapid progress of genetic knowledge and technologies, the expanding practice of genetic counsellors and the increasing demand for services. We report here the process by which the CAGC Practice Based Competencies were developed and then validated via two survey cycles, the first within the CAGC membership, and the second with feedback from external stakeholders. These competencies were formally approved in 2012 and describe the integrated skills, attitudes and judgment that genetic counsellors in Canada require in order to perform the services and duties that fall within the practice of the profession responsibly, safely, effectively and ethically. © 2013 National Society of Genetic Counselors, Inc.

Lowry R.B.,University of Calgary | Lowry R.B.,Alberta Childrens Hospital Research Institute | Chernos J.E.,University of Calgary | Chernos J.E.,Genetic Laboratory Services | And 2 more authors.
Molecular Syndromology | Year: 2013

There are a number of reports of interstitial deletions of the long arm of chromosome 6 that have developmental delay and obesity suggesting that this is a distinct phenotype almost like Prader-Willi syndrome. Here we report a patient with a similar deletion but a strikingly different phenotype, one more in keeping with Marfan syndrome, although he does not fulfil the criteria for that syndrome. Array comparative genomic hybridization was performed to investigate a patient with a striking phenotype. This revealed an interstitial deletion of 6q14.1q15. Parental FISH studies were normal, indicating that this is a de novo deletion. Our patient has a completely different phenotype compared to other patients reported to have similar deletions. The common feature is developmental delay, but the body features are quite different in that our patient is tall, strikingly thin with pectus excavatum, scoliosis, skin striae, arachnodactyly, pes planus, cataracts, and a high-arched palate. This contrasts with other patients who have a similar deletion but have short stature and obesity. 6q14.1q15 interstitial deletions can have a very variable phenotype and do not necessarily conform to a clinical recognizable microdeletion syndrome caused by haploinsufficiency of dosage-sensitive genes in that region as proposed by others. © 2013 S. Karger AG, Basel.

Ashbury J.E.,Queens University | Taylor S.A.,University of Alberta | Taylor S.A.,Genetic Laboratory Services | Tse M.Y.,Queens University | And 4 more authors.
International Journal of Molecular Epidemiology and Genetics | Year: 2014

There is increasing interest in clarifying the role of global DNA methylation levels in colorectal cancer (CRC) etiology. Most commonly, in epidemiologic studies, methylation is measured in DNA derived from blood leukocytes as a proxy measure of methylation changes in colon tissue. However, little is known about the correlations between global methylation levels in DNA derived from colon tissue and more accessible tissues such as blood or buccal cells. This cross-sectional study utilized DNA samples from a screening colonoscopy population to determine to what extent LINE-1 methylation levels (as a proxy for genome-wide methylation) in non-target tissue (e.g., blood, buccal cells) refected methylation patterns of colon mucosal tissue directly at risk of developing CRC. The strongest Pearson correlation was observed between LINE-1 methylation levels in buccal and blood leukocyte DNA (r = 0.50; N = 67), with weaker correlations for comparisons between blood and colon tissue (r = 0.36; N = 280), and buccal and colon tissue (r = 0.27; N = 72). These findings of weak/moderate correlations have important implications for interpreting and planning future investigations of epigenetic markers and CRC risk.

Caluseriu O.,University of Calgary | Caluseriu O.,University of Alberta | Lowry B.R.,University of Calgary | Lowry B.R.,Alberta Childrens Hospital Research Institute | And 10 more authors.
American Journal of Medical Genetics, Part A | Year: 2013

Treacher Collins syndrome (TCS), the best known form of mandibulofacial dysostosis (MFD) comprises a recognizable pattern of anomalies. In 1985, Lowry et al. reported on two Hutterite sisters born to apparently unaffected parents with TCS, raising the possibility of an autosomal recessive (AR) variant of TCS, subsequently given a unique Mendelian Inheritance of Man (MIM) number (248390). Recently, biallelic mutations in POLR1C were found in TCS patients, confirming AR TCS as a distinct entity. The Hutterites, an endogamous Anabaptist group, like other genetically isolated populations, provide a powerful resource for mapping AR disorders. We elected to study the molecular basis of TCS in the Hutterite population including the original kindred described in 1985, and another unrelated Hutterite patient. Prior to starting this study, a TCOF1 mutation had apparently been excluded in the original family at two outside institutions. We hypothesized that an AR variant of TCS was present in the three Hutterite patients, but homozygosity mapping did not show convincing evidence of shared regions between the affected individuals. TCOF1 analysis was undertaken and mutations were found in the three affected patients and an unaffected parent. These data show that the initial Hutterite family reported with AR TCS in fact has classic TCS due to a TCOF1 mutation, despite recent data confirming the existence of AR TCS in other populations. These results have significant counseling implications for the affected families in the Hutterite population and in the population at large. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

King W.D.,Queens University | Ashbury J.E.,Queens University | Taylor S.A.,University of Alberta | Taylor S.A.,Genetic Laboratory Services | And 4 more authors.
BMC Cancer | Year: 2014

Background: The methylation of DNA is recognized as a key epigenetic mechanism and evidence for its role in the development of several malignancies is accumulating. We evaluated the relationship between global methylation in DNA derived from normal appearing colon mucosal tissue and blood leukocytes, and colorectal adenoma risk.Methods: Patients, aged 40 to 65, scheduled for a screening colonoscopy were recruited. During the colonoscopy, two pinch biopsies of healthy, normal appearing mucosa were obtained from the descending colon. A fasting blood sample was also collected. The methylation status of LINE-1 (long interspersed nuclear element-1) repetitive sequences, as a surrogate measure of global methylation, was quantified in DNA extracted from normal colon mucosa and blood leukocytes. Statistical analysis of the relationship between global DNA methylation and adenoma risk was conducted on 317 participants, 108 subjects with at least one pathologically confirmed adenoma and 209 subjects with a normal colonoscopy.Results: A statistically significant inverse relationship was observed between LINE-1 methylation in colon tissue DNA and adenoma risk for males and for both sexes combined for the lowest methylation quartile compared to the highest (adjusted ORs = 2.94 and 2.26 respectively). For blood, although the overall pattern of odds ratio estimates was towards an increase in risk for lower methylation quartiles compared to the highest methylation quartile, there were no statistically significant relationships observed. A moderate correlation was found between LINE-1 methylation levels measured in tissue and blood (Pearson correlation 0.36).Conclusions: We observed that lower levels of LINE-1 DNA methylation in normal appearing background colon mucosa were associated with increased adenoma risk for males, and for both sexes combined. Though these findings provide some support for a relationship between LINE-1 DNA methylation in colon mucosal tissue and adenoma risk, large prospective cohort studies are needed to confirm results. Until such investigations are done, the clinical usefulness of LINE-1 methylation as a biomarker of increased adenoma risk is uncertain. Regardless, this study contributes to a better understanding of the role of global DNA methylation as an early event in CR carcinogenesis with implications for future etiologic research. © 2014 King et al.

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