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1.  Polymorphisms in leucine-rich repeat genes are associated with autism spectrum disorder susceptibility in populations of European ancestry 
Molecular Autism  2010;1:7.
Autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) are a group of highly heritable neurodevelopmental disorders which are characteristically comprised of impairments in social interaction, communication and restricted interests/behaviours. Several cell adhesion transmembrane leucine-rich repeat (LRR) proteins are highly expressed in the nervous system and are thought to be key regulators of its development. Here we present an association study analysing the roles of four promising candidate genes - LRRTM1 (2p), LRRTM3 (10q), LRRN1 (3p) and LRRN3 (7q) - in order to identify common genetic risk factors underlying ASDs.
In order to gain a better understanding of how the genetic variation within these four gene regions may influence susceptibility to ASDs, a family-based association study was undertaken in 661 families of European ancestry selected from four different ASD cohorts. In addition, a case-control study was undertaken across the four LRR genes, using logistic regression in probands with ASD of each population against 295 ECACC controls.
Significant results were found for LRRN3 and LRRTM3 (P < 0.005), using both single locus and haplotype approaches. These results were further supported by a case-control analysis, which also highlighted additional SNPs in LRRTM3.
Overall, our findings implicate the neuronal leucine-rich genes LRRN3 and LRRTM3 in ASD susceptibility.
PMCID: PMC2913944  PMID: 20678249
2.  Family-based association analysis of alcohol dependence implicates KIAA0040 on Chromosome 1q in multiplex alcohol dependence families 
Open journal of genetics  2013;3(4):243-252.
A previous genome-wide linkage study of alcohol dependence in multiplex families found a suggestive linkage result for a region on Chromosome 1 near microsatellite markers D1S196 and D1S2878. The KIAA0040 gene has been mapped to this region (1q24 - q25). A recent genome-wide association study using SAGE (the Study of Addiction: Genetics and Environment) and COGA (Collaborative Study on the Genetics of Alcoholism) found five SNPs within the KIAA0040 gene significantly associated with alcohol dependence. A meta-analysis using data from these sources also found the KIAA0040 gene significantly associated with alcohol dependence.
Using family data consisting of 1000 individuals with phenotypic data (762 with both phenotype and DNA), finer mapping of a 0.3 cM region that included the KIAA0040 gene and a flanking gene was undertaken using SNPs with minor allele frequency (MAF) ≥ 0.15 and pair-wise linkage disequilibrium (LD) of r2 < 0.8 using the HapMap CEU population.
Significant FBAT p-values were observed for six SNPs, four within the KIAA0040 gene (rs2269650, rs2861158, rs1008459, rs2272785) and two adjacent to KIAA0040 (rs10912899 and rs3753555). Five haplotype blocks of varying size were identified using HAPLOVIEW. Analysis using the haplotype-based test function of FBAT revealed one two-SNP block (rs1008459-rs2272785) associated with alcohol dependence. This block showed a pattern of transmission in which one haplotype, CT, with a frequency of 0.577 was found to be over-transmitted to affected offspring (p = 0.017) while another haplotype, AG, with a frequency of 0.238 was found to be under-transmitted to affected offspring (p = 0.006). A three-SNP block (rs1008459-rs2272785-rs375355) showed an overall significant association (p = 0.011) with alcohol dependence with the haplotype ACT over-transmitted to affected offspring (p = 0.016) and the haplotype GAG under-transmitted (p = 0.002).
Family-based association analysis shows the KIAA0040 gene significantly associated with alcohol dependence. The potential importance of the KIAA0040 gene for AD risk is currently unknown. However, the present results support earlier findings from a genome-wide association study.
PMCID: PMC4017249  PMID: 24829844
KIAA0040; Alcohol Dependence; Multiplex; Families
3.  Association of autism with polymorphisms in the paired-like homeodomain transcription factor 1 (PITX1) on chromosome 5q31: a candidate gene analysis 
BMC Medical Genetics  2007;8:74.
Autism is a complex, heterogeneous, behaviorally-defined disorder characterized by disruptions of the nervous system and of other systems such as the pituitary-hypothalamic axis. In a previous genome wide screen, we reported linkage of autism with a 1.2 Megabase interval on chromosome 5q31. For the current study, we hypothesized that 3 of the genes in this region could be involved in the development of autism: 1) paired-like homeodomain transcription factor 1 (PITX1), which is a key regulator of hormones within the pituitary-hypothalamic axis, 2) neurogenin 1, a transcription factor involved in neurogenesis, and 3) histone family member Y (H2AFY), which is involved in X-chromosome inactivation in females and could explain the 4:1 male:female gender distortion present in autism.
A total of 276 families from the Autism Genetic Resource Exchange (AGRE) repository composed of 1086 individuals including 530 affected children were included in the study. Single nucleotide polymorphisms tagging the three candidate genes were genotyped on the initial linkage sample of 116 families. A second step of analysis was performed using tightly linked SNPs covering the PITX1 gene. Association was evaluated using the FBAT software version 1.7.3 for single SNP analysis and the HBAT command from the same package for haplotype analysis respectively.
Association between SNPs and autism was only detected for PITX1. Haplotype analysis within PITX1 showed evidence for overtransmission of the A-C haplotype of markers rs11959298 – rs6596189 (p = 0.0004). Individuals homozygous or heterozygous for the A-C haplotype risk allele were 2.54 and 1.59 fold more likely to be autistic than individuals who were not carrying the allele, respectively.
Strong and consistent association was observed between a 2 SNPs within PITX1 and autism. Our data suggest that PITX1, a key regulator of hormones within the pituitary-hypothalamic axis, may be implicated in the etiology of autism.
PMCID: PMC2222245  PMID: 18053270
4.  A noise-reduction GWAS analysis implicates altered regulation of neurite outgrowth and guidance in autism 
Molecular Autism  2011;2:1.
Genome-wide Association Studies (GWAS) have proved invaluable for the identification of disease susceptibility genes. However, the prioritization of candidate genes and regions for follow-up studies often proves difficult due to false-positive associations caused by statistical noise and multiple-testing. In order to address this issue, we propose the novel GWAS noise reduction (GWAS-NR) method as a way to increase the power to detect true associations in GWAS, particularly in complex diseases such as autism.
GWAS-NR utilizes a linear filter to identify genomic regions demonstrating correlation among association signals in multiple datasets. We used computer simulations to assess the ability of GWAS-NR to detect association against the commonly used joint analysis and Fisher's methods. Furthermore, we applied GWAS-NR to a family-based autism GWAS of 597 families and a second existing autism GWAS of 696 families from the Autism Genetic Resource Exchange (AGRE) to arrive at a compendium of autism candidate genes. These genes were manually annotated and classified by a literature review and functional grouping in order to reveal biological pathways which might contribute to autism aetiology.
Computer simulations indicate that GWAS-NR achieves a significantly higher classification rate for true positive association signals than either the joint analysis or Fisher's methods and that it can also achieve this when there is imperfect marker overlap across datasets or when the closest disease-related polymorphism is not directly typed. In two autism datasets, GWAS-NR analysis resulted in 1535 significant linkage disequilibrium (LD) blocks overlapping 431 unique reference sequencing (RefSeq) genes. Moreover, we identified the nearest RefSeq gene to the non-gene overlapping LD blocks, producing a final candidate set of 860 genes. Functional categorization of these implicated genes indicates that a significant proportion of them cooperate in a coherent pathway that regulates the directional protrusion of axons and dendrites to their appropriate synaptic targets.
As statistical noise is likely to particularly affect studies of complex disorders, where genetic heterogeneity or interaction between genes may confound the ability to detect association, GWAS-NR offers a powerful method for prioritizing regions for follow-up studies. Applying this method to autism datasets, GWAS-NR analysis indicates that a large subset of genes involved in the outgrowth and guidance of axons and dendrites is implicated in the aetiology of autism.
PMCID: PMC3035032  PMID: 21247446
5.  Linkage and association of the glutamate receptor 6 gene with autism 
Molecular Psychiatry  2002;7(3):302-310.
A genome scan was previously performed and pointed to chromosome 6q21 as a candidate region for autism. This region contains the glutamate receptor 6 (GluR6 or GRIK2) gene, a functional candidate for the syndrome. Glutamate is the principal excitatory neurotransmitter in the brain and is directly involved in cognitive functions such as memory and learning. We used two different approaches, the affected sib-pair (ASP) method and the transmission disequilibrium test (TDT), to investigate the linkage and association between GluR6 and autism. The ASP method, conducted with additional markers on the 51 original families and in 8 new sibling pairs, showed a significant excess of allele sharing, generating an elevated multipoint maximum LOD score (ASPEX MLS = 3.28). TDT analysis, performed in the ASP families and in an independent data set of 107 parent-offspring trios, indicated a significant maternal transmission disequilibrium (TDTall P = 0.0004). Furthermore, TDT analysis (with only one affected proband per family) showed significant association between GluR6 and autism (TDT association P = 0.008). In contrast to maternal transmission, paternal transmission of GluR6 alleles was as expected in the absence of linkage, suggesting a maternal effect such as imprinting. Mutation screening was performed in 33 affected individuals, revealing several nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), including one amino acid change (M867I) in a highly conserved domain of the intracytoplasmic C-terminal region of the protein. This change is found in 8% of the autistic subjects and in 4% of the control population and seems to be more maternally transmitted than expected to autistic males (P = 0.007). Taken together, these data suggest that GluR6 is in linkage disequilibrium with autism.
PMCID: PMC2547854  PMID: 11920157
Amino Acid Sequence; Autistic Disorder; genetics; Brain; physiopathology; Child; Chromosome Mapping; Chromosomes; Human; Pair 6; Exons; Family; Female; Genetic Markers; Genotype; Glutamic Acid; physiology; Humans; Linkage (Genetics); Male; Molecular Sequence Data; Open Reading Frames; Receptors; Kainic Acid; genetics; Restriction Mapping; autistic disorder; GluR6; GRIK2; mutation screening; affected sib-pair method; TDT; linkage disequilibrium; single nucleotide polymorphism; editing; isoforms
6.  Association study of SHANK3 gene polymorphisms with autism in Chinese Han population 
BMC Medical Genetics  2009;10:61.
Autism, a heterogeneous disease, is described as a genetic psychiatry disorder. Recently, abnormalities at the synapse are supposed to be important for the etiology of autism.SHANK3 (SH3 and multiple ankyrin repeat domains protein) gene encodes a master synaptic scaffolding protein at postsynaptic density (PSD) of excitatory synapse. Rare mutations and copy number variation (CNV) evidence suggested SHANK3 as a strong candidate gene for the pathogenesis of autism.
We performed an association study between SHANK3 gene polymorphisms and autism in Chinese Han population. We analyzed the association between five single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) of the SHANK3 gene and autism in 305 Chinese Han trios, using the family based association test (FBAT). Linkage disequilibrium (LD) analysis showed the presence of LD between pairwise markers across the locus. We also performed mutation screening for the rare de novo mutations reported previously.
No significant evidence between any SNPs of SHANK3 and autism was observed. We did not detect any mutations described previously in our cohort.
We suggest that SHANK3 might not represent a major susceptibility gene for autism in Chinese Han population.
PMCID: PMC2721832  PMID: 19566951
7.  Transmission disequilibrium testing of the chromosome 15q11-q13 region in autism 
Evidence implicates the serotonin transporter gene (SLC6A4) and the 15q11-q13 genes as candidates for autism as well as restricted repetitive behavior (RRB).
We conducted dense transmission disequilibrium mapping of the 15q11-q13 region with 93 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in 86 strictly defined autism trios and tested association between SNPs and autism using the transmission disequilibrium test (TDT). As exploratory analyses, parent-of-origin effects were examined using likelihood-ratio tests (LRT) and genotype-phenotype associations for specific RRB using the Family-Based Association Test (FBAT). Additionally, gene-gene interactions between nominally associated 15q11-q13 variants and 5-HTTLPR, the common length polymorphism of SLC6A4, were examined using conditional logistic regression (CLR).
TDT revealed nominally significant transmission disequilibrium between autism and five SNPs, three of which are located within close proximity of the GABAA receptor subunit gene clusters. Three SNPs in the SNRPN/UBE3A region had marginal imprinting effects. FBAT for genotype-phenotype relations revealed nominally significant association between two SNPs and one ADI-R sub-domain item. However, both TDT and FBAT were not statistically significant after correcting for multiple comparisons. Gene-gene interaction analyses by CLR revealed additive genetic effect models, without interaction terms, fit the data best.
Lack of robust association between the 15q11-q13 SNPs and RRB phenotypes may be due to a small sample size and absence of more specific RRB measurement. Further investigation of the 15q11-q13 region with denser genotyping in a larger sample set may be necessary to determine whether this region confers risk to autism, indicated by association, or to specific autism phenotypes.
PMCID: PMC4095800  PMID: 18361419
Autism; 15q11-q13; restricted repetitive behavior; 5-HTTLPR; association
8.  Bivariate genetic association of KIAA1797 with heart rate in American Indians: the Strong Heart Family Study 
Human Molecular Genetics  2010;19(18):3662-3671.
Heart rate (HR) has been identified as a risk factor for cardiovascular disease (CVD), yet little is known regarding genetic factors influencing this phenotype. Previous research in American Indians (AIs) from the Strong Heart Family Study (SHFS) identified a significant quantitative trait locus (QTL) for HR on chromosome 9p21. Genetic association on HR was conducted in the SHFS. HR was measured from electrocardiogram (ECG) and echocardiograph (Echo) Doppler recordings. We examined 2248 single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) on chromosome 9p21 for association using a gene-centric statistical test. We replicated the aforementioned QTL [logarithm of odds (LOD) = 4.83; genome-wide P= 0.0003] on chromosome 9p21 in one SHFS population using joint linkage of ECG and Echo HR. After correcting for effective number of SNPs using a gene-centric test, six SNPs (rs7875153, rs7848524, rs4446809, rs10964759, rs1125488 and rs7853123) remained significant. We applied a novel bivariate association method, which was a joint test of association of a single locus to two traits using a standard additive genetic model. The SNP, rs7875153, provided the strongest evidence for association (P = 7.14 × 10−6). This SNP (rs7875153) is rare (minor allele frequency = 0.02) in AIs and is located within intron 9 of the gene KIAA1797. To support this association, we applied lymphocyte RNA expression data from the San Antonio Family Heart Study, a longitudinal study of CVD in Mexican Americans. Expression levels of KIAA1797 were significantly associated (P = 0.012) with HR. These findings in independent populations support that KIAA1797 genetic variation may be associated with HR but elucidation of a functional relationship requires additional study.
PMCID: PMC2928129  PMID: 20601674
9.  Systematic mutation analysis of KIAA0767 and KIAA1646 in chromosome 22q-linked periodic catatonia 
BMC Psychiatry  2005;5:36.
Periodic catatonia is a familial subtype of schizophrenia characterized by hyperkinetic and akinetic episodes, followed by a catatonic residual syndrome. The phenotype has been evaluated in two independent genome-wide linkage scans with evidence for a major locus on chromosome 15q15, and a second independent locus on chromosome 22qtel.
In the positional and brain-expressed candidate genes KIAA0767 and KIAA1646, we searched for variants in the complete exons and adjacent splice-junctions as well as in parts of the 5'- and 3'-untranslated regions by means of a systematic mutation screening in individuals from chromosome 22q-linked pedigrees.
The mutation scan revealed 24 single nucleotide polymorphisms, among them two rare codon variants (KIAA0767: S159I; KIAA1646: V338G). However, both were neither found segregating with the disease in the respective pedigree nor found at a significant frequency in a case-control association sample.
Starting from linkage signals at chromosome22qtel in periodic catatonia, we screened two positional brain-expressed candidate genes for genetic variation. Our study excludes genetic variations in the coding and putative promoter regions of KIAA0767 and KIAA1646 as causative factors for periodic catatonia.
PMCID: PMC1274336  PMID: 16225677
10.  Appetite regulation genes are associated with body mass index in black South African adolescents: a genetic association study 
BMJ Open  2012;2(3):e000873.
Obesity is a complex trait with both environmental and genetic contributors. Genome-wide association studies have identified several variants that are robustly associated with obesity and body mass index (BMI), many of which are found within genes involved in appetite regulation. Currently, genetic association data for obesity are lacking in Africans—a single genome-wide association study and a few replication studies have been published in West Africa, but none have been performed in a South African population.
To assess the association of candidate loci with BMI in black South Africans. The authors focused on single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the FTO, LEP, LEPR, MC4R, NPY2R and POMC genes.
A genetic association study.
990 randomly selected individuals from the larger Birth to Twenty cohort (a longitudinal birth cohort study of health and development in Africans).
The authors genotyped 44 SNPs within the six candidate genes that included known BMI-associated SNPs and tagSNPs based on linkage disequilibrium in an African population for FTO, LEP and NPY2R. To assess population substructure, the authors included 18 ancestry informative markers. Weight, height, sex, sex-specific pubertal stage and exact age collected during adolescence (13 years) were used to identify loci that predispose to obesity early in life.
Sex, sex-specific pubertal stage and exact age together explain 14.3% of the variation in log(BMI) at age 13. After adjustment for these factors, four SNPs were individually significantly associated with BMI: FTO rs17817449 (p=0.022), LEP rs10954174 (p=0.0004), LEP rs6966536 (p=0.012) and MC4R rs17782313 (p=0.045). Together the four SNPs account for 2.1% of the variation in log(BMI). Each risk allele was associated with an estimated average increase of 2.5% in BMI.
The study highlighted SNPs in FTO and MC4R as potential genetic markers of obesity risk in South Africans. The association with two SNPs in the 3′ untranslated region of the LEP gene is novel.
Article summary
Article focus
This is a replication study aiming to reproduce BMI association findings from European cohorts in a South African population.
This study focused on genes linked to appetite control that were previously reported to show association with BMI or obesity and included FTO, LEP, LEPR, MC4R, NPY2R and POMC.
Adolescent data were used to facilitate the identification of genetic loci that predispose to obesity early in life, as it is known that overweight/obese children have an elevated risk of becoming obese adults.
Key messages
We found four SNPs were individually significantly associated with BMI: FTO rs17817449 (p=0.022), LEP rs10954174 (p=0.0004), LEP rs6966536 (p=0.012) and MC4R rs17782313 (p=0.045).
Together the four SNPs account for 2.1% of the variation in log(BMI).
We also demonstrated that an accumulation of risk alleles is linked to a significant increase in BMI—individuals with seven risk alleles had an 11.0% increase in median BMI compared with those with two risk alleles.
Strengths and limitations of this study
This study provides the first preliminary evidence of the role of genetic variants in obesity risk in an adolescent black South African population.
This study was only moderately powered to detect association with BMI, and not all genes were exhaustively investigated.
TagSNP selection would have been enhanced if South African data were available for this approach.
PMCID: PMC3358621  PMID: 22614171
11.  Haplotype structure enables prioritization of common markers and candidate genes in autism spectrum disorder 
Translational Psychiatry  2013;3(5):e262-.
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a neurodevelopmental condition that results in behavioral, social and communication impairments. ASD has a substantial genetic component, with 88–95% trait concordance among monozygotic twins. Efforts to elucidate the causes of ASD have uncovered hundreds of susceptibility loci and candidate genes. However, owing to its polygenic nature and clinical heterogeneity, only a few of these markers represent clear targets for further analyses. In the present study, we used the linkage structure associated with published genetic markers of ASD to simultaneously improve candidate gene detection while providing a means of prioritizing markers of common genetic variation in ASD. We first mined the literature for linkage and association studies of single-nucleotide polymorphisms, copy-number variations and multi-allelic markers in Autism Genetic Resource Exchange (AGRE) families. From markers that reached genome-wide significance, we calculated male-specific genetic distances, in light of the observed strong male bias in ASD. Four of 67 autism-implicated regions, 3p26.1, 3p26.3, 3q25-27 and 5p15, were enriched with differentially expressed genes in blood and brain from individuals with ASD. Of 30 genes differentially expressed across multiple expression data sets, 21 were within 10 cM of an autism-implicated locus. Among them, CNTN4, CADPS2, SUMF1, SLC9A9, NTRK3 have been previously implicated in autism, whereas others have been implicated in neurological disorders comorbid with ASD. This work leverages the rich multimodal genomic information collected on AGRE families to present an efficient integrative strategy for prioritizing autism candidates and improving our understanding of the relationships among the vast collection of past genetic studies.
PMCID: PMC3669925  PMID: 23715297
AGRE; autism genetics; autism spectrum disorders; bibliome mining
12.  The DLX1and DLX2 genes and susceptibility to autism spectrum disorders 
An imbalance between excitation and inhibition in the cerebral cortex has been suggested as a possible etiology of autism. The DLX genes encode homeodomain-containing transcription factors controlling the generation of GABAergic cortical interneurons. The DLX1 and DLX2 genes lie head-to-head in 2q32, a region associated with autism susceptibility. We investigated 6 Tag SNPs within the DLX1/2 genes in two cohorts of multiplex (MPX) and one of simplex (SPX) families for association with autism. Family-based association tests showed strong association with five of the SNPs. The common alleles of rs743605 and rs4519482 were significantly associated with autism (P<0.012) in the first sample of 138 MPX families, with the latter remaining significant after correction for multiple testing (Pcor=0.0046). Findings in a second sample of 169 MPX families not only confirmed the association at rs4519482 (P=0.034) but also showed strong allelic association of the common alleles at rs788172, rs788173 and rs813720 (Pcor=0.0003–0.04). In the combined MPX families, the common alleles were all significantly associated with autism (Pcor=0.0005–0.016). The GGGTG haplotype was over transmitted in the two MPX cohorts and the combined samples [Pcor<0.05: Pcor=0.00007 for the combined MPX families, Odds Ratio: 1.75 (95% CI: 1.33–2.30)]. Further testing in 306 SPX families replicated the association at rs4519482 (P=0.033) and the over transmission of the haplotype GGGTG (P=0.012) although P-values were not significant after correction for multiple testing. The findings support the presence of two functional polymorphisms, one in or near each of the DLX genes that increase susceptibility to, or cause, autism in MPX families where there is a greater genetic component for these conditions.
PMCID: PMC2986060  PMID: 18728693
autism spectrum disorders; epilepsy; genetics; DLX1 and DLX2 genes; GABAergic system; gene association
13.  A Human Type 1 Diabetes Susceptibility Locus Maps to Chromosome 21q22.3 
Diabetes  2008;57(10):2858-2861.
OBJECTIVE— The Type 1 Diabetes Genetics Consortium (T1DGC) has assembled and genotyped a large collection of multiplex families for the purpose of mapping genomic regions linked to type 1 diabetes. In the current study, we tested for evidence of loci associated with type 1 diabetes utilizing genome-wide linkage scan data and family-based association methods.
RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS— A total of 2,496 multiplex families with type 1 diabetes were genotyped with a panel of 6,090 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs). Evidence of association to disease was evaluated by the pedigree disequilibrium test. Significant results were followed up by genotyping and analyses in two independent sets of samples: 2,214 parent-affected child trio families and a panel of 7,721 case and 9,679 control subjects.
RESULTS— Three of the SNPs most strongly associated with type 1 diabetes localized to previously identified type 1 diabetes risk loci: INS, IFIH1, and KIAA0350. A fourth strongly associated SNP, rs876498 (P = 1.0 × 10−4), occurred in the sixth intron of the UBASH3A locus at chromosome 21q22.3. Support for this disease association was obtained in two additional independent sample sets: families with type 1 diabetes (odds ratio [OR] 1.06 [95% CI 1.00–1.11]; P = 0.023) and case and control subjects (1.14 [1.09–1.19]; P = 7.5 × 10−8).
CONCLUSIONS— The T1DGC 6K SNP scan and follow-up studies reported here confirm previously reported type 1 diabetes associations at INS, IFIH1, and KIAA0350 and identify an additional disease association on chromosome 21q22.3 in the UBASH3A locus (OR 1.10 [95% CI 1.07–1.13]; P = 4.4 × 10−12). This gene and its flanking regions are now validated targets for further resequencing, genotyping, and functional studies in type 1 diabetes.
PMCID: PMC2551699  PMID: 18647951
14.  Development of a Large SNP Genotyping Array and Generation of High-Density Genetic Maps in Tomato 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(7):e40563.
The concurrent development of high-throughput genotyping platforms and next generation sequencing (NGS) has increased the number and density of genetic markers, the efficiency of constructing detailed linkage maps, and our ability to overlay recombination and physical maps of the genome. We developed an array for tomato with 8,784 Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms (SNPs) mainly discovered based on NGS-derived transcriptome sequences. Of the SNPs, 7,720 (88%) passed manufacturing quality control and could be scored in tomato germplasm. The array was used to generate high-density linkage maps for three interspecific F2 populations: EXPEN 2000 (Solanum lycopersicum LA0925 x S. pennellii LA0716, 79 individuals), EXPEN 2012 (S. lycopersicum Moneymaker x S. pennellii LA0716, 160 individuals), and EXPIM 2012 (S. lycopersicum Moneymaker x S. pimpinellifolium LA0121, 183 individuals). The EXPEN 2000-SNP and EXPEN 2012 maps consisted of 3,503 and 3,687 markers representing 1,076 and 1,229 unique map positions (genetic bins), respectively. The EXPEN 2000-SNP map had an average marker bin interval of 1.6 cM, while the EXPEN 2012 map had an average bin interval of 0.9 cM. The EXPIM 2012 map was constructed with 4,491 markers (1,358 bins) and an average bin interval of 0.8 cM. All three linkage maps revealed an uneven distribution of markers across the genome. The dense EXPEN 2012 and EXPIM 2012 maps showed high levels of colinearity across all 12 chromosomes, and also revealed evidence of small inversions between LA0716 and LA0121. Physical positions of 7,666 SNPs were identified relative to the tomato genome sequence. The genetic and physical positions were mostly consistent. Exceptions were observed for chromosomes 3, 10 and 12. Comparing genetic positions relative to physical positions revealed that genomic regions with high recombination rates were consistent with the known distribution of euchromatin across the 12 chromosomes, while very low recombination rates were observed in the heterochromatic regions.
PMCID: PMC3393668  PMID: 22802968
15.  Novel copy number variants in children with autism and additional developmental anomalies 
Autism is a neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by three core symptom domains: ritualistic-repetitive behaviors, impaired social interaction, and impaired communication and language development. Recent studies have highlighted etiologically relevant recurrent copy number changes in autism, such as 16p11.2 deletions and duplications, as well as a significant role for unique, novel variants. We used Affymetrix 250K GeneChip Microarray technology (either NspI or StyI) to detect microdeletions and duplications in a subset of children from the Autism Genetic Resource Exchange (AGRE). In order to enrich our sample for potentially pathogenic CNVs we selected children with autism who had additional features suggestive of chromosomal loss associated with developmental disturbance (positive criteria filter) but who had normal cytogenetic testing (negative criteria filter). We identified families with the following features: at least one child with autism who also had facial dysmorphology, limb or digit abnormalities, or ocular abnormalities. To detect changes in copy number we used a publicly available program, Copy Number Analyser for GeneChip® (CNAG) Ver. 2.0. We identified novel deletions and duplications on chromosomes 1q24.2, 3p26.2, 4q34.2, and 6q24.3. Several of these deletions and duplications include new and interesting candidate genes for autism such as syntaxin binding protein 5 (STXBP5 also known as tomosyn) and leucine rich repeat neuronal 1 (LRRN1 also known as NLRR1). Lastly, our data suggest that rare and potentially pathogenic microdeletions and duplications may have a substantially higher prevalence in children with autism and additional developmental anomalies than in children with autism alone.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s11689-009-9013-z) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC3164008  PMID: 21547721
Autism; Copy number variation; Structural variation; Mental retardation; Dysmorphology; Chromosome 6q24; STXBP5; Chromosome 3p26.3; LRRN1; Chromosome 22q11.2; Chromosome 4q34.2; Chromosome 1q24
16.  Fine mapping of genes within the IDDM8 region in rheumatoid arthritis 
The IDDM8 region on chromosome 6q27, first identified as a susceptibility locus for type 1 diabetes, has previously been linked and associated with rheumatoid arthritis (RA). The region contains a number of potential candidate genes, including programmed cell death 2 (PDCD2), the proteosome subunit beta type 1 (PSMB1), delta-like ligand 1 (DLL-1) and TATA box-binding protein (TBP) amongst others. The aim of this study was to fine map the IDDM8 region on chromosome 6q27, focusing on the genes in the region, to identify polymorphisms that may contribute to susceptibility to RA and potentially to other autoimmune diseases. Validated single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs; n = 65) were selected from public databases from the 330 kb region of IDDM8. These were genotyped using Sequenom MassArray genotyping technology in two datasets; the test dataset comprised 180 RA cases and 180 controls. We tested 50 SNPs for association with RA and any significant associations were genotyped in a second dataset of 174 RA cases and 192 controls, and the datasets were combined before analysis. Association analysis was performed by chi-square test implemented in Stata software and linkage disequilibrium and haplotype analysis was performed using Helix tree version 4.1. There was initial weak evidence of association, with RA, of a number of SNPs around the loc154449 putative gene and within the KIAA1838 gene; however, these associations were not significant in the combined dataset. Our study has failed to detect evidence of association with any of the known genes mapping to the IDDM8 locus with RA.
PMCID: PMC1779440  PMID: 16945141
17.  Genetic Linkage and Association of the Growth Hormone Secretagogue Receptor (Ghrelin Receptor) Gene in Human Obesity 
Diabetes  2005;54(1):259-267.
The growth hormone secretagogue receptor (GHSR) (ghrelin receptor) plays an important role in the regulation of food intake and energy homeostasis. The GHSR gene lies on human chromosome 3q26 within a quantitative trait locus strongly linked to multiple phenotypes related to obesity and the metabolic syndrome. Because the biological function and location of the GHSR gene make it an excellent candidate gene, we tested the relation between common single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the GHSR gene and human obesity. We performed a comprehensive analysis of SNPs, linkage disequilibrium (LD), and haplotype structure across the entire GHSR gene region (99.3 kb) in 178 pedigrees with multiple obese members (DNA of 1,095 Caucasians) and in an independent sample of the general population (MONICA Augsburg left ventricular hypertrophy substudy; DNA of 1,418 Caucasians). The LD analysis revealed a disequilibrium block consisting of five SNPs, consistent in both study cohorts. We found linkage among all five SNPs, their haplotypes, and BMI. Further, we found suggestive evidence for transmission disequilibrium for the minor SNP alleles (P < 0.05) and the two most common haplotypes with the obesity affection status (“susceptible” P = 0.025, “nonsusceptible” P = 0.045) in the family cohort using the family-based association test program. Replication of these findings in the general population resulted in stronger evidence for an association of the SNPs (best P = 0.00001) and haplotypes with the disease (“susceptible” P = 0.002, “nonsusceptible” P = 0.002). To our knowledge, these data are the first to demonstrate linkage and association of SNPs and haplotypes within the GHSR gene region and human obesity. This linkage, together with significant transmission disequilibrium in families and replication of this association in an independent population, provides evidence that common SNPs and haplotypes within the GHSR region are involved in the pathogenesis of human obesity.
PMCID: PMC2793077  PMID: 15616037
18.  Testing for the association of the KIAA1109/Tenr/IL2/IL21 gene region with rheumatoid arthritis in a European family-based study 
A candidate gene approach, in a large case–control association study in the Dutch population, has shown that a 480 kb block on chromosome 4q27 encompassing KIAA1109/Tenr/IL2/IL21 genes is associated with rheumatoid arthritis. Compared with case–control association studies, family-based studies have the added advantage of controlling potential differences in population structure. Therefore, our aim was to test this association in populations of European origin by using a family-based approach.
A total of 1,302 West European white individuals from 434 trio families were genotyped for the rs4505848, rs11732095, rs6822844, rs4492018 and rs1398553 polymorphisms using the TaqMan Allelic discrimination assay (Applied Biosystems). The genetic association analyses for each SNP and haplotype were performed using the Transmission Disequilibrium Test and the genotype relative risk.
We observed evidence for association of the heterozygous rs4505848-AG genotype with rheumatoid arthritis (P = 0.04); however, no significance was found after Bonferroni correction. In concordance with previous findings in the Dutch population, we observed a trend of undertransmission for the rs6822844-T allele and rs6822844-GT genotype to rheumatoid arthritis patients. We further investigated the five SNP haplotypes of the KIAA1109/Tenr/IL2/IL21 gene region. We observed, as described in the Dutch population, a nonsignificant undertransmission of the AATGG haplotype to rheumatoid arthritis patients.
Using a family-based study, we have provided a trend for the association of the KIAA1109/Tenr/IL2/IL21 gene region with rheumatoid arthritis in populations of European descent. Nevertheless, we failed to replicate a significant association of this region in our rheumatoid arthritis family sample. Further investigation of this region, including detection and testing of all variants, is required to confirm rheumatoid arthritis association.
PMCID: PMC2688193  PMID: 19302705
19.  Family-Based Association Testing of OCD-Associated SNPs of SLC1A1 in an Autism Sample 
Reports identified the neuronal glutamate transporter gene, SLC1A1 (OMIM 133550, chromosome 9p24), as a positional and functional candidate gene for obsessive–compulsive disorder (OCD). The presence of obsessions and compulsions similar to OCD in autism, the identification of this region in a genome-wide linkage analysis of individuals with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs), and the hypothesized role of glutamate in ASDs make SLC1A1 a candidate gene for ASD as well. To test for association between SLC1A1 and autism, we typed three single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs, rs301430, rs301979, rs301434) previously associated with OCD in 86 strictly defined trios with autism. Family-Based Association Tests (FBAT) with additive and recessive models were used to check for association. Additionally, an rs301430–rs301979 haplotype identified for OCD was investigated. FBAT revealed nominally significant association between autism and one SNP under a recessive model. The G allele of rs301979 was undertransmitted (equivalent to overtransmission of the C allele under a dominant model) to individuals with autism (Z = −2.47, P = 0.01). The G allele was also undertransmitted in the T–G haplotype under the recessive model (Z = −2.41, P = 0.02). Both findings were also observed in the male-only sample. However, they did not withstand correction for multiple comparisons.
PMCID: PMC2688703  PMID: 19360657
autism; SLC1A1; OCD; association
20.  Rare familial 16q21 microdeletions under a linkage peak implicate cadherin 8 (CDH8) in susceptibility to autism and learning disability 
Journal of Medical Genetics  2010;48(1):48-54.
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is characterised by impairments in social communication and by a pattern of repetitive behaviours, with learning disability (LD) typically seen in up to 70% of cases. A recent study using the PPL statistical framework identified a novel region of genetic linkage on chromosome 16q21 that is limited to ASD families with LD.
In this study, two families with autism and/or LD are described which harbour rare >1.6 Mb microdeletions located within this linkage region. The deletion breakpoints are mapped at base-pair resolution and segregation analysis is performed using a combination of 1M single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) technology, array comparative genomic hybridisation (CGH), long-range PCR, and Sanger sequencing. The frequency of similar genomic variants in control subjects is determined through analysis of published SNP array data. Expression of CDH8, the only gene disrupted by these microdeletions, is assessed using reverse transcriptase PCR and in situ hybridisation analysis of 9 week human embryos.
The deletion of chr16: 60 025 584–61 667 839 was transmitted to three of three boys with autism and LD and none of four unaffected siblings, from their unaffected mother. In a second family, an overlapping deletion of chr16: 58 724 527–60 547 472 was transmitted to an individual with severe LD from his father with moderate LD. No copy number variations (CNVs) disrupting CDH8 were observed in 5023 controls. Expression analysis indicates that the two CDH8 isoforms are present in the developing human cortex.
Rare familial 16q21 microdeletions and expression analysis implicate CDH8 in susceptibility to autism and LD.
PMCID: PMC3003876  PMID: 20972252
CDH8; CNV; autistic; in situ; synapse; molecular genetics, neurology
21.  Loss of function of KIAA2022 causes mild to severe intellectual disability with an autism spectrum disorder and impairs neurite outgrowth 
Human Molecular Genetics  2013;22(16):3306-3314.
Existence of a discrete new X-linked intellectual disability (XLID) syndrome due to KIAA2022 deficiency was questioned by disruption of KIAA2022 by an X-chromosome pericentric inversion in a XLID family we reported in 2004. Three additional families with likely pathogenic KIAA2022 mutations were discovered within the frame of systematic parallel sequencing of familial cases of XLID or in the context of routine array-CGH evaluation of sporadic intellectual deficiency (ID) cases. The c.186delC and c.3597dupA KIAA2022 truncating mutations were identified by X-chromosome exome sequencing, while array CGH discovered a 70 kb microduplication encompassing KIAA2022 exon 1 in the third family. This duplication decreased KIAA2022 mRNA level in patients' lymphocytes by 60%. Detailed clinical examination of all patients, including the two initially reported, indicated moderate-to-severe ID with autistic features, strabismus in all patients, with no specific dysmorphic features other than a round face in infancy and no structural brain abnormalities on magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Interestingly, the patient with decreased KIAA2022 expression had only mild ID with severe language delay and repetitive behaviors falling in the range of an autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Since little is known about KIAA2022 function, we conducted morphometric studies in cultured rat hippocampal neurons. We found that siRNA-mediated KIAA2022 knockdown resulted in marked impairment in neurite outgrowth including both the dendrites and the axons, suggesting a major role for KIAA2022 in neuron development and brain function.
PMCID: PMC3723314  PMID: 23615299
22.  Genome-scan for IQ discrepancy in autism: evidence for loci on chromosomes 10 and 16 
Human genetics  2010;129(1):59-70.
Performance IQ (PIQ) greater than verbal IQ (VIQ) is often observed in studies of the cognitive abilities of autistic individuals. This characteristic is correlated with social and communication impairments, key parts of the autism diagnosis. We present the first genetic analyses of IQ discrepancy (PIQ–VIQ) as an autism-related phenotype. We performed genome-wide joint linkage and segregation analyses on 287 multiplex families, using a Markov chain Monte Carlo approach. Genetic data included a genome-scan of 387 micro-satellite markers in 210 families augmented with additional markers added in a subset of families. Empirical P values were calculated for five interesting regions. Linkage analysis identified five chromosomal regions with substantial regional evidence of linkage; 10p12 [P = 0.001; genome-wide (gw) P = 0.05], 16q23 (P = 0.015; gw P = 0.53), 2p21 (P = 0.03, gw P = 0.78), 6q25 (P = 0.047, gw P = 0.91) and 15q23–25 (P = 0.053, gw P = 0.93). The location of the chromosome 10 linkage signal coincides with a region noted in a much earlier genome-scan for autism, and the chromosome 16 signal coincides exactly with a linkage signal for non-word repetition in specific language impairment. This study provides strong evidence for a QTL influencing IQ discrepancy in families with autistic individuals on chromosome 10, and suggestive evidence for a QTL on chromosome 16. The location of the chromosome 16 signal suggests a candidate gene, CDH13, a T-cadherin expressed in the brain, which has been implicated in previous SNP studies of autism and ADHD.
PMCID: PMC3082447  PMID: 20963441
23.  “High Density SNP Association Study of the 17q21 Chromosomal Region Linked to Autism Identifies CACNA1G as a Novel Candidate Gene” 
Molecular psychiatry  2009;15(10):996-1005.
Chromosome 17q11-q21 is a region of the genome likely to harbor susceptibility to autism (MIM[209850]) based on prior evidence of linkage to the disorder. This linkage is specific to multiplex pedigrees containing only male probands (MO) within the Autism Genetic Resource Exchange (AGRE). Previously, Stone et al.1 completed a high-density SNP association study of 13.7Mb within this interval, but common variant association was not sufficient to account for the linkage signal. Here we extend this SNP-based association study to complete the coverage of the 2 LOD support interval around the chromosome 17q linkage peak by testing the majority of common alleles in 284 MO trios.
Markers within an interval containing the gene CACNA1G were found to be associated with Autism Spectrum Disorder at a locally significant level (p = 1.9 × 10-5). While establishing CACNA1G as a novel candidate for autism, these alleles do not contribute sufficient genetic effect to explain the observed linkage, indicating there is substantial genetic heterogeneity despite the clear linkage signal. The region thus likely harbors a combination of multiple common and rare alleles contributing to the genetic risk. These data, along with previous studies of Chromosomes 5 and 7q3, suggest few if any major common risk alleles account for ASD risk under major linkage peaks in the AGRE sample. This provides important evidence for strategies to identify ASD genes, suggesting they should focus on identifying rare variants and common variants of small effect.
PMCID: PMC2889141  PMID: 19455149
Autism; Autism Spectrum Disorder; Association; Chromosome 17q; CACNA1G
24.  A quantitative association study of SLC25A12 and restricted repetitive behavior traits in autism spectrum disorders 
Molecular Autism  2011;2:8.
SLC25A12 was previously identified by a linkage-directed association analysis in autism. In this study, we investigated the relationship between three SLC25A12 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) (rs2056202, rs908670 and rs2292813) and restricted repetitive behavior (RRB) traits in autism spectrum disorders (ASDs), based on a positive correlation between the G allele of rs2056202 and an RRB subdomain score on the Autism Diagnostic Interview-Revised (ADI-R).
We used the Repetitive Behavior Scale-Revised (RBS-R) as a quantitative RRB measure, and conducted linear regression analyses for individual SNPs and a previously identified haplotype (rs2056202-rs2292813). We examined associations in our University of Illinois at Chicago-University of Florida (UIC-UF) sample (179 unrelated individuals with an ASD), and then attempted to replicate our findings in the Simons Simplex Collection (SSC) sample (720 ASD families).
In the UIC-UF sample, three RBS-R scores (ritualistic, sameness, sum) had positive associations with the A allele of rs2292813 (p = 0.006-0.012) and with the rs2056202-rs2292813 haplotype (omnibus test, p = 0.025-0.040). The SSC sample had positive associations between the A allele of rs2056202 and four RBS-R scores (stereotyped, sameness, restricted, sum) (p = 0.006-0.010), between the A allele of rs908670 and three RBS-R scores (stereotyped, self-injurious, sum) (p = 0.003-0.015), and between the rs2056202-rs2292813 haplotype and six RBS-R scores (stereotyped, self-injurious, compulsive, sameness, restricted, sum)(omnibus test, p = 0.002-0.028). Taken together, the A alleles of rs2056202 and rs2292813 were consistently and positively associated with RRB traits in both the UIC-UF and SSC samples, but the most significant SNP with phenotype association varied in each dataset.
This study confirmed an association between SLC25A12 and RRB traits in ASDs, but the direction of the association was different from that in the initial study. This could be due to the examined SLC25A12 SNPs being in linkage disequilibrium with another risk allele, and/or genetic/phenotypic heterogeneity of the ASD samples across studies.
PMCID: PMC3123633  PMID: 21609426
25.  An X chromosome-wide association study in autism families identifies TBL1X as a novel autism spectrum disorder candidate gene in males 
Molecular Autism  2011;2:18.
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a complex neurodevelopmental disorder with a strong genetic component. The skewed prevalence toward males and evidence suggestive of linkage to the X chromosome in some studies suggest the presence of X-linked susceptibility genes in people with ASD.
We analyzed genome-wide association study (GWAS) data on the X chromosome in three independent autism GWAS data sets: two family data sets and one case-control data set. We performed meta- and joint analyses on the combined family and case-control data sets. In addition to the meta- and joint analyses, we performed replication analysis by using the two family data sets as a discovery data set and the case-control data set as a validation data set.
One SNP, rs17321050, in the transducin β-like 1X-linked (TBL1X) gene [OMIM:300196] showed chromosome-wide significance in the meta-analysis (P value = 4.86 × 10-6) and joint analysis (P value = 4.53 × 10-6) in males. The SNP was also close to the replication threshold of 0.0025 in the discovery data set (P = 5.89 × 10-3) and passed the replication threshold in the validation data set (P = 2.56 × 10-4). Two other SNPs in the same gene in linkage disequilibrium with rs17321050 also showed significance close to the chromosome-wide threshold in the meta-analysis.
TBL1X is in the Wnt signaling pathway, which has previously been implicated as having a role in autism. Deletions in the Xp22.2 to Xp22.3 region containing TBL1X and surrounding genes are associated with several genetic syndromes that include intellectual disability and autistic features. Our results, based on meta-analysis, joint analysis and replication analysis, suggest that TBL1X may play a role in ASD risk.
PMCID: PMC3305893  PMID: 22050706

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