Epilepsia Cover May 2018

Genetic generalized epilepsies

9 May, 2018

Saul A. Mullen and Samuel F. Berkovic on behalf of the ILAE Genetics Commission

Epilepsia doi.org/10.1111/epi.14042


The genetic generalized epilepsies (GGEs) are mainly genetically determined disorders. Although inheritance in most cases appears to be complex, involving multiple genes, variants of a number of genes are known to contribute. Pathogenic variants of SLC2A1 leading to autosomal‐dominant GLUT1 deficiency account for up to 1% of cases, increasing to 10% of those with absence seizures starting before age 4 years. Copy number variants are found in around 3% of cases, acting as risk alleles. Copy number variation is much more common in those with comorbid learning disability. Common variant associations are starting to emerge from genome‐wide association studies but do not yet explain a large proportion of GGEs. Although currently genetic testing is not likely to yield a diagnosis for most patients with GGEs, it can be of great importance in specific clinical situations. Providers should consider the individual patient's history in determining the utility of genetic testing.