Genetics in chronic kidney disease: conclusions from a Kidney Disease: Improving Global Outcomes (KDIGO) Controversies Conference
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Numerous genes for monogenic kidney diseases with classical patterns of inheritance, as well as genes for complex kidney diseases that manifest in combination with environmental factors, have been discovered. Genetic findings are increasingly used to inform clinical management of nephropathies, and have led to improved diagnostics, disease surveillance, choice of therapy, and family counseling. All of these steps rely on accurate interpretation of genetic data, which can be outpaced by current rates of data collection. In March of 2021, Kidney Diseases: Improving Global Outcomes (KDIGO) held a Controversies Conference on "Genetics in Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD)" to review the current state of understanding of monogenic and complex (polygenic) kidney diseases, processes for applying genetic findings in clinical medicine, and use of genomics for defining and stratifying CKD. Given the important contribution of genetic variants to CKD, practitioners with CKD patients are advised to "think genetic," which specifically involves obtaining a family history, collecting detailed information on age of CKD onset, performing clinical examination for extrarenal symptoms, and considering genetic testing. To improve the use of genetics in nephrology, meeting participants advised developing an advanced training or subspecialty track for nephrologists, crafting guidelines for testing and treatment, and educating patients, students, and practitioners. Key areas of future research, including clinical interpretation of genome variation, electronic phenotyping, global representation, kidney-specific molecular data, polygenic scores, translational epidemiology, and open data resources, were also identified.
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