This study states that Mutations which induce aberrant transcript splicing represent a distinct class of disease-causing genetic variants in retinal disease genes. Such mutations may either weaken or erase regular splice sites or create novel splice sites which alter exon recognition. While mutations affecting the canonical GU-AG dinucleotides at the splice donor and splice acceptor site are highly predictive to cause a splicing defect, other variants in the vicinity of the canonical splice sites or those affecting additional cis-acting regulatory sequences within exons or introns are much more difficult to assess or even to recognize and require additional experimental validation. Splicing mutations are unique in that the actual outcome for the transcript (e.g. exon skipping, pseudoexon inclusion, intron retention) and the encoded protein can be quite different depending on the individual mutation. In this article, we present an overview on the current knowledge about and impact of splicing mutations in inherited retinal diseases. We introduce the most common sub-classes of splicing mutations including examples from our own work and others and discuss current strategies for the identification and validation of splicing mutations.

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