This article details research to improve molecular autopsy accuracy by identifying more genetic variants linked to sudden unexplained deaths.
Sudden unexplained deaths in infants and adults leave behind devastated family members and frustrated medical examiners. The inability to confidently determine the cause of death is not only hard on the family, it can also lead to false murder convictions. National Institute of Justice-supported researchers aimed to improve molecular autopsy accuracy by identifying more genetic variants linked to sudden unexplained deaths. This article describes how they looked at gene frequency to classify variants of heart disease genes as disease-causing or harmless and identified variants of uncertain significance for further study. The researchers say findings from this project are a step forward in improving gene variant classification in molecular autopsies that will better inform criminal investigations and advance preventive medicine for families affected by genetically linked sudden deaths.