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Approximately 1% of the global population is affected by intellectual disability (ID), and the majority receive no molecular diagnosis. Previous studies have indicated high levels of genetic heterogeneity, with estimates of more than 2500 autosomal ID genes, the majority of which are autosomal recessive (AR). Here, we combined microarray genotyping, homozygosity-by-descent (HBD) mapping, copy number variation (CNV) analysis, and whole exome sequencing (WES) to identify disease genes/mutations in 192 multiplex Pakistani and Iranian consanguineous families with non-syndromic ID. We identified definite or candidate mutations (or CNVs) in 51% of families in 72 different genes, including 26 not previously reported for ARID. The new ARID genes include nine with loss-of-function mutations (ABI2, MAPK8, MPDZ, PIDD1, SLAIN1, TBC1D23, TRAPPC6B, UBA7, and USP44), and missense mutations include the first reports of variants in BDNF or TET1 associated with ID. The genes identified also showed overlap with de novo gene sets for other neuropsychiatric disorders. Transcriptional studies showed prominent expression in the prenatal brain. The high yield of AR mutations for ID indicated that this approach has excellent clinical potential and should inform clinical diagnostics, including clinical whole exome and genome sequencing, for populations in which consanguinity is common. As with other AR disorders, the relevance will also apply to outbred populations.

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