David Porubsky, Wolfram Höps, Hufsah Ashraf, PingHsun Hsieh, Bernardo Rodriguez-Martin, Feyza Yilmaz, Jana Ebler, Pille Hallast, Flavia Angela Maria Maggiolini, William T. Harvey, Barbara Henning, Peter A. Audano, David S. Gordon, Peter Ebert, Patrick Hasenfeld, Eva Benito, Qihui Zhu, Human Genome Structural Variation Consortium (HGSVC), Charles Lee, Francesca Antonacci, Matthias Steinrücken, Christine R. Beck, Ashley D. Sanders, Tobias Marschall, Evan E. Eichler, Jan O. Korbel
Unlike copy number variants (CNVs), inversions remain an underexplored genetic variation class. By integrating multiple genomic technologies, we discover 729 inversions in 41 human genomes. Approximately 85% of inversions <2 kbp form by twin-priming during L1-retrotransposition; 80% of the larger inversions are balanced and affect twice as many base pairs as CNVs. Balanced inversions show an excess of common variants, and 72% are flanked by segmental duplications (SDs) or mobile elements. Since this suggests recurrence due to non-allelic homologous recombination, we developed complementary approaches to identify recurrent inversion formation. We describe 40 recurrent inversions encompassing 0.6% of the genome, showing inversion rates up to 2.7×10-4 per locus and generation. Recurrent inversions exhibit a sex- chromosomal bias, and significantly co-localize to the critical regions of genomic disorders. We propose that inversion recurrence results in an elevated number of heterozygous carriers and structural SD diversity, which increases mutability in the population and predisposes to disease- causing CNVs.