Identifying whether a given genetic mutation results in a gene product with increased (gain-of-function; GOF) or diminished (loss-of-function; LOF) activity is an important step toward understanding disease mechanisms because they may result in markedly different clinical phenotypes. Here, we generated an extensive database of documented germline GOF and LOF pathogenic variants by employing natural language processing (NLP) on the available abstracts in the Human Gene Mutation Database. We then investigated various gene- and protein-level features of GOF and LOF variants and applied machine learning and statistical analyses to identify discriminative features. We found that GOF variants were enriched in essential genes, for autosomal-dominant inheritance, and in protein binding and interaction domains, whereas LOF variants were enriched in singleton genes, for protein-truncating variants, and in protein core regions. We developed a user-friendly web-based interface that enables the extraction of selected subsets from the GOF/LOF database by a broad set of annotated features and downloading of up-to-date versions. These results improve our understanding of how variants affect gene/protein function and may ultimately guide future treatment options.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2301-2318
Number of pages18
JournalAmerican Journal of Human Genetics
Issue number12
StatePublished - 2 Dec 2021


  • database
  • feature importance
  • functional consequence
  • gain-of-function
  • genetic variants
  • loss-of-function
  • machine learning
  • natural language processing
  • online server


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