Structural variants exhibit widespread allelic heterogeneity and shape variation in complex traits.
Published Web Locationhttps://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-019-12884-1
It has been hypothesized that individually-rare hidden structural variants (SVs) could account for a significant fraction of variation in complex traits. Here we identified more than 20,000 euchromatic SVs from 14 Drosophila melanogaster genome assemblies, of which ~40% are invisible to high specificity short-read genotyping approaches. SVs are common, with 31.5% of diploid individuals harboring a SV in genes larger than 5kb, and 24% harboring multiple SVs in genes larger than 10kb. SV minor allele frequencies are rarer than amino acid polymorphisms, suggesting that SVs are more deleterious. We show that a number of functionally important genes harbor previously hidden structural variants likely to affect complex phenotypes. Furthermore, SVs are overrepresented in candidate genes associated with quantitative trait loci mapped using the Drosophila Synthetic Population Resource. We conclude that SVs are ubiquitous, frequently constitute a heterogeneous allelic series, and can act as rare alleles of large effect.