The International HapMap Project provides a key resource of genotypic data on human samples including lymphoblastoid cell lines derived from individuals of four major world populations of African, European, Japanese and Chinese ancestry. Researchers have utilized this resource to identify genetic elements that correlate with various phenotypes such as risks of common diseases, individual drug response and gene expression variation. However, recent comparative studies have suggested that the currently available HapMap genotypic data may not capture a substantial proportion of rare or untyped SNPs in these populations, implying that the HapMap SNPs may not be sufficient for comprehensive association studies. In this paper, three large-scale deep resequencing projects covering the HapMap samples: ENCODE (Encyclopedia of DNA Elements), SeattleSNPs and NIEHS (National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences) Environmental Genome Project are discussed. Prospectively, once integrated with the HapMap resource, these efforts will greatly benefit the next wave of association studies and data mining using these cell lines.
HapMap; lymphoblastoid cell lines; genotype; single nucleotide polymorphism; resequencing
Motivation: Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) generate relationships between hundreds of thousands of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and complex phenotypes. The contribution of the traditionally overlooked copy number variations (CNVs) to complex traits is also being actively studied. To facilitate the interpretation of the data and the designing of follow-up experimental validations, we have developed a database that enables the sensible prioritization of these variants by combining several approaches, involving not only publicly available physical and functional annotations but also multilocus linkage disequilibrium (LD) annotations as well as annotations of expression quantitative trait loci (eQTLs).
Results: For each SNP, the SCAN database provides: (i) summary information from eQTL mapping of HapMap SNPs to gene expression (evaluated by the Affymetrix exon array) in the full set of HapMap CEU (Caucasians from UT, USA) and YRI (Yoruba people from Ibadan, Nigeria) samples; (ii) LD information, in the case of a HapMap SNP, including what genes have variation in strong LD (pairwise or multilocus LD) with the variant and how well the SNP is covered by different high-throughput platforms; (iii) summary information available from public databases (e.g. physical and functional annotations); and (iv) summary information from other GWAS. For each gene, SCAN provides annotations on: (i) eQTLs for the gene (both local and distant SNPs) and (ii) the coverage of all variants in the HapMap at that gene on each high-throughput platform. For each genomic region, SCAN provides annotations on: (i) physical and functional annotations of all SNPs, genes and known CNVs within the region and (ii) all genes regulated by the eQTLs within the region.
Supplementary information: Supplementary data are available at Bioinformatics online.
The approach to molecular genetic studies of complex phenotypes has evolved considerably during the recent years. The candidate gene approach, restricted to analysis of a few single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in a modest number of cases and controls, has been supplanted by the unbiased approach of Genome-Wide Association Studies (GWAS), wherein a large number of tagger SNPs are typed in a large number of individuals. GWAS, which are designed upon the common disease- common variant hypothesis (CD-CV), have identified a large number of SNPs and loci for complex phenotypes. However, alleles identified through GWAS are typically not causative but rather in linkage disequilibrium (LD) with the true causal variants. The common alleles, which may not capture the uncommon and rare variants, account only for a fraction of heritability of the complex traits. Hence, the focus is being shifted to rare variants – common disease (RV-CD) hypothesis, surmising that rare variants exert large effect sizes on the phenotype. In conjunctional with this conceptual shift technological advances in DNA sequencing techniques have dramatically enhanced whole genome or whole exome sequencing capacity. The sequencing approach affords identification of not only the rare but also the common variants. The approach – whether used in complementation with GWAS or as a stand-alone approach - could define the genetic architecture of the complex phenotypes. Robust phenotyping and large-scale sequencing studies are essential to extract the information content of the vast number of DNA sequence variants (DSVs) in the genome. To garner meaningful clinical information and link the genotype to a phenotype, identification and characterization of a very large number of causal fields beyond the information content of DNA sequence variants would be necessary. This review provides an update on the current progress and limitations in identifying DSVs that are associated with phenotypic effects.
Patterns of population structure provide insights into evolutionary processes and help identify groups of individuals for genotype–phenotype association studies. With increasing availability of polymorphic molecular markers across genomes, the examination of population structure using large numbers of unlinked loci has become a common practice in evolutionary biology and human genetics. The two classes of molecular variation most widely used for this purpose, short tandem repeat polymorphisms (STRPs) and single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), differ in mutational properties expected to affect population structure. To measure the relative ability of these loci to describe population structure, we compared diversity at neighboring STRPs and SNPs from 720 genomic regions in the four populations that comprise the Human HapMap. Comparing loci from the same genomic regions allowed us to focus on the contribution of mutational differences (rather than variation in genealogical history) to disparities in population structure between STRPs and SNPs. Relative to average values for SNPs from the same regions, STRPs had lower Fst, but higher Gst′ and In values. STRP–SNP correlations in population structure across genomic regions were statistically significant but weak in magnitude. Separate analyses by repeat type showed that these correlations were driven primarily by tetranucleotide and trinucleotide STRPs; measures of population structure at dinucleotides and SNPs were not significantly correlated. Pairwise comparisons among populations revealed effects of divergence time on differences in population structure between STRPs and SNPs. Collectively, these results confirm that individual STRPs can provide more information about population structure than individual SNPs, but suggest that the difference in structure at STRPs and SNPs depends on local genealogical history. Our study motivates theoretical comparisons of population structure at loci with different mutational properties.
SNP; microsatellite; recurrent mutation; population structure; marker informativeness; human genome
The plasma adiponectin level, a potential upstream and internal facet of metabolic and cardiovascular diseases, has a reasonably high heritability. Whether other novel genes influence the variation in adiponectin level and the roles of these genetic variants on subsequent clinical outcomes has not been thoroughly investigated. Therefore, we aimed not only to identify genetic variants modulating plasma adiponectin levels but also to investigate whether these variants are associated with adiponectin-related metabolic traits and cardiovascular diseases.
RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS
We conducted a genome-wide association study (GWAS) to identify quantitative trait loci (QTL) associated with high molecular weight forms of adiponectin levels by genotyping 382 young-onset hypertensive (YOH) subjects with Illumina HumanHap550 SNP chips. The culpable single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) variants responsible for lowered adiponectin were then confirmed in another 559 YOH subjects, and the association of these SNP variants with the risk of metabolic syndrome (MS), type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM), and ischemic stroke was examined in an independent community–based prospective cohort, the CardioVascular Disease risk FACtors Two-township Study (CVDFACTS, n = 3,350).
The SNP (rs4783244) most significantly associated with adiponectin levels was located in intron 1 of the T-cadherin (CDH13) gene in the first stage (P = 7.57 × 10−9). We replicated and confirmed the association between rs4783244 and plasma adiponectin levels in an additional 559 YOH subjects (P = 5.70 × 10−17). This SNP was further associated with the risk of MS (odds ratio [OR] = 1.42, P = 0.027), T2DM in men (OR = 3.25, P = 0.026), and ischemic stroke (OR = 2.13, P = 0.002) in the CVDFACTS.
These findings indicated the role of T-cadherin in modulating adiponectin levels and the involvement of CDH13 or adiponectin in the development of cardiometabolic diseases.
The high-throughput genotyping chips have contributed greatly to genome-wide association (GWA) studies to identify novel disease susceptibility single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs). The high-density chips are designed using two different SNP selection approaches, the direct gene-centric approach, and the indirect quasi-random SNPs or linkage disequilibrium (LD)-based tagSNPs approaches. Although all these approaches can provide high genome coverage and ascertain variants in genes, it is not clear to which extent these approaches could capture the common genic variants. It is also important to characterize and compare the differences between these approaches.
In our study, by using both the Phase II HapMap data and the disease variants extracted from OMIM, a gene-centric evaluation was first performed to evaluate the ability of the approaches in capturing the disease variants in Caucasian population. Then the distribution patterns of SNPs were also characterized in genic regions, evolutionarily conserved introns and nongenic regions, ontologies and pathways. The results show that, no mater which SNP selection approach is used, the current high-density SNP chips provide very high coverage in genic regions and can capture most of known common disease variants under HapMap frame. The results also show that the differences between the direct and the indirect approaches are relatively small. Both have similar SNP distribution patterns in these gene-centric characteristics.
This study suggests that the indirect approaches not only have the advantage of high coverage but also are useful for studies focusing on various functional SNPs either in genes or in the conserved regions that the direct approach supports. The study and the annotation of characteristics will be helpful for designing and analyzing GWA studies that aim to identify genetic risk factors involved in common diseases, especially variants in genes and conserved regions.
The development of population-based genome-wide association studies (GWASs) has led to the rapid identification of large numbers of genetic variants associated with coronary artery disease (CAD) and related traits. Together with large-scale gene-centric studies, at least 35 loci associated with CAD per se have been identified with replication. The majority of these associations are with common single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) exhibiting modest effects on relative risk. The modest nature of the effects, coupled with ethical/practical constraints associated with human sampling, makes it difficult to answer important questions beyond gene/locus localization and allele frequency via human genetic studies. Questions related to gene function, disease-causing mechanism(s), and effective interventions will likely require studies in model organisms. The use of the mouse model for further detailed studies of GWAS-identified CAD-associated loci is highlighted herein.
atherosclerosis; coronary artery disease; mouse genetics; genome-wide association study
Galectin-3 is a lectin involved in fibrosis, inflammation and proliferation. Increased circulating levels of galectin-3 have been associated with various diseases, including cancer, immunological disorders, and cardiovascular disease. To enhance our knowledge on galectin-3 biology we performed the first genome-wide association study (GWAS) using the Illumina HumanCytoSNP-12 array imputed with the HapMap 2 CEU panel on plasma galectin-3 levels in 3,776 subjects and follow-up genotyping in an additional 3,516 subjects. We identified 2 genome wide significant loci associated with plasma galectin-3 levels. One locus harbours the LGALS3 gene (rs2274273; P = 2.35×10−188) and the other locus the ABO gene (rs644234; P = 3.65×10−47). The variance explained by the LGALS3 locus was 25.6% and by the ABO locus 3.8% and jointly they explained 29.2%. Rs2274273 lies in high linkage disequilibrium with two non-synonymous SNPs (rs4644; r2 = 1.0, and rs4652; r2 = 0.91) and wet lab follow-up genotyping revealed that both are strongly associated with galectin-3 levels (rs4644; P = 4.97×10−465 and rs4652 P = 1.50×10−421) and were also associated with LGALS3 gene-expression. The origins of our associations should be further validated by means of functional experiments.
The HapMap project has facilitated the selection of tagging single nucleotide polymorphisms (tagSNPs) for genome-wide association studies (GWAS) under the assumption that linkage disequilibrium (LD) in the HapMap populations is similar to the populations under investigation. Earlier reports support this assumption, although in most of these studies only a few loci were evaluated. We compared pair-wise LD and LD block structure across autosomes between the Dutch population and the CEU–HapMap reference panel. The impact of sampling distribution on the estimation of LD blocks was studied by bootstrapping. A high Pearson correlation (genome-wide; 0.93) between pair-wise r2 for the Dutch and the CEU populations was found, indicating that tagSNPs from the CEU–HapMap panel capture common variation in the Dutch population. However, some genomic regions exhibited, significantly lower correlation than the genome-wide estimate. This might decrease the validity of HapMap tagSNPs in these regions and the power of GWAS. The LD block structure differed considerably between the Dutch and CEU–HapMap populations. This was not explained by demographic differences between the CEU and Dutch samples, as testing for population stratification was not significant. We also found that sampling variation had a large effect on the estimation of LD blocks, as shown by the bootstrapping analysis. Thus, in small samples, most of the observed differences in LD blocks between populations are most likely the result of sampling variation. This poor concordance in LD block structure suggests that large samples are required for robust estimations of local LD block structure in populations.
Dutch population; HapMap–CEU; pair-wise LD; LD blocks; bootstrapping
With improvements in genotyping technologies, genome-wide association studies with hundreds of thousands of SNPs allow the identification of candidate genetic loci for multifactorial diseases in different populations. However, genotyping errors caused by genotyping platforms or genotype calling algorithms may lead to inflation of false associations between markers and phenotypes. In addition, the number of SNPs available for genome-wide association studies in the Japanese population has been investigated using only 45 samples in the HapMap project, which could lead to an inaccurate estimation of the number of SNPs with low minor allele frequencies. We genotyped 400 Japanese samples in order to estimate the number of SNPs available for genome-wide association studies in the Japanese population and to examine the performance of the current SNP Array 6.0 platform and the genotype calling algorithm "Birdseed".
About 20% of the 909,622 SNP markers on the array were revealed to be monomorphic in the Japanese population. Consequently, 661,599 SNPs were available for genome-wide association studies in the Japanese population, after excluding the poorly behaving SNPs. The Birdseed algorithm accurately determined the genotype calls of each sample with a high overall call rate of over 99.5% and a high concordance rate of over 99.8% using more than 48 samples after removing low-quality samples by adjusting QC criteria.
Our results confirmed that the SNP Array 6.0 platform reached the level reported by the manufacturer, and thus genome-wide association studies using the SNP Array 6.0 platform have considerable potential to identify candidate susceptibility or resistance genetic factors for multifactorial diseases in the Japanese population, as well as in other populations.
The prevalence of hypertension in African Americans (AAs) is higher than in other US groups; yet, few have performed genome-wide association studies (GWASs) in AA. Among people of European descent, GWASs have identified genetic variants at 13 loci that are associated with blood pressure. It is unknown if these variants confer susceptibility in people of African ancestry. Here, we examined genome-wide and candidate gene associations with systolic blood pressure (SBP) and diastolic blood pressure (DBP) using the Candidate Gene Association Resource (CARe) consortium consisting of 8591 AAs. Genotypes included genome-wide single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) data utilizing the Affymetrix 6.0 array with imputation to 2.5 million HapMap SNPs and candidate gene SNP data utilizing a 50K cardiovascular gene-centric array (ITMAT-Broad-CARe [IBC] array). For Affymetrix data, the strongest signal for DBP was rs10474346 (P= 3.6 × 10−8) located near GPR98 and ARRDC3. For SBP, the strongest signal was rs2258119 in C21orf91 (P= 4.7 × 10−8). The top IBC association for SBP was rs2012318 (P= 6.4 × 10−6) near SLC25A42 and for DBP was rs2523586 (P= 1.3 × 10−6) near HLA-B. None of the top variants replicated in additional AA (n = 11 882) or European-American (n = 69 899) cohorts. We replicated previously reported European-American blood pressure SNPs in our AA samples (SH2B3, P= 0.009; TBX3-TBX5, P= 0.03; and CSK-ULK3, P= 0.0004). These genetic loci represent the best evidence of genetic influences on SBP and DBP in AAs to date. More broadly, this work supports that notion that blood pressure among AAs is a trait with genetic underpinnings but also with significant complexity.
β-blockers and β-agonists are primarily used to treat cardiovascular diseases. Inter-individual variability in response to both drug classes is well recognized, yet the identity and relative contribution of the genetic players involved are poorly understood. This work is the first genome-wide association study (GWAS) addressing the values and susceptibility of cardiovascular-related traits to a selective β1-blocker, Atenolol (ate), and a β-agonist, Isoproterenol (iso). The phenotypic dataset consisted of 27 highly heritable traits, each measured across 22 inbred mouse strains and four pharmacological conditions. The genotypic panel comprised 79922 informative SNPs of the mouse HapMap resource. Associations were mapped by Efficient Mixed Model Association (EMMA), a method that corrects for the population structure and genetic relatedness of the various strains. A total of 205 separate genome-wide scans were analyzed. The most significant hits include three candidate loci related to cardiac and body weight, three loci for electrocardiographic (ECG) values, two loci for the susceptibility of atrial weight index to iso, four loci for the susceptibility of systolic blood pressure (SBP) to perturbations of the β-adrenergic system, and one locus for the responsiveness of QTc (p<10−8). An additional 60 loci were suggestive for one or the other of the 27 traits, while 46 others were suggestive for one or the other drug effects (p<10−6). Most hits tagged unexpected regions, yet at least two loci for the susceptibility of SBP to β-adrenergic drugs pointed at members of the hypothalamic-pituitary-thyroid axis. Loci for cardiac-related traits were preferentially enriched in genes expressed in the heart, while 23% of the testable loci were replicated with datasets of the Mouse Phenome Database (MPD). Altogether these data and validation tests indicate that the mapped loci are relevant to the traits and responses studied.
Ischemic stroke (IS) is among the leading causes of death in Western countries. There is a significant genetic component to IS susceptibility, especially among young adults. To date, research to identify genetic loci predisposing to stroke has met only with limited success. We performed a genome-wide association (GWA) analysis of early-onset IS to identify potential stroke susceptibility loci. The GWA analysis was conducted by genotyping 1 million SNPs in a biracial population of 889 IS cases and 927 controls, ages 15–49 years. Genotypes were imputed using the HapMap3 reference panel to provide 1.4 million SNPs for analysis. Logistic regression models adjusting for age, recruitment stages, and population structure were used to determine the association of IS with individual SNPs. Although no single SNP reached genome-wide significance (P < 5 × 10−8), we identified two SNPs in chromosome 2q23.3, rs2304556 (in FMNL2; P = 1.2 × 10−7) and rs1986743 (in ARL6IP6; P = 2.7 × 10−7), strongly associated with early-onset stroke. These data suggest that a novel locus on human chromosome 2q23.3 may be associated with IS susceptibility among young adults.
epidemiology; genetics; brain infarction; FMNL2
We have performed a genome-wide association study (GWAS) of schizophrenia in a Norwegian discovery sample of 201 cases and 305 controls (TOP study) with a focused replication analysis in a larger European sample of 2663 cases and 13,780 control subjects (SGENE-plus study). Firstly, the discovery sample was genotyped with Affymetrix Genome-Wide Human SNP Array 6.0 and 572,888 markers were tested for schizophrenia association. No SNPs in the discovery sample attained genome-wide significance (P < 8.7 × 10−8). Secondly, based on the GWAS data, we selected 1000 markers with the lowest P values in the discovery TOP sample, and tested these (or HapMap-based surrogates) for association in the replication sample. Sixteen loci were associated with schizophrenia (nominal P value < 0.05 and concurring OR) in the replication sample. As a next step, we performed a combined analysis of the findings from these two studies, and the strongest evidence for association with schizophrenia was provided for markers rs7045881 on 9p21, rs433598 on 16p12 and rs10761482 on 10q21. The markers are located in PLAA, ACSM1 and ANK3, respectively. PLAA has not previously been described as a susceptibility gene, but 9p21 is implied as a schizophrenia linkage region. ACSM1 has been identified as a susceptibility gene in a previous schizophrenia GWAS study. The association of ANK3 with schizophrenia is intriguing in light of recent associations of ANK3 with bipolar disorder, thereby supporting the hypothesis of an overlap in genetic susceptibility between these psychopathological entities.
Schizophrenia; Genome-wide association study; PLAA; ACSM1; ANK3; Psychiatric genetics
Polymorphisms in several distinct genomic regions, including the F7 gene, were recently associated with factor VII (FVII) levels in European Americans (EAs). The genetic determinants of FVII in African Americans (AAs) are unknown. We used a 50 000 single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) gene-centric array having dense coverage of over 2 000 candidate genes for cardiovascular disease (CVD) pathways in a community-based sample of 16 324 EA and 3898 AA participants from the Candidate Gene Association Resource (CARe) consortium. Our aim was the discovery of new genomic loci and more detailed characterization of existing loci associated with FVII levels. In EAs, we identified three new loci associated with FVII, of which APOA5 on chromosome 11q23 and HNF4A on chromosome 20q12–13 were replicated in a sample of 4289 participants from the Whitehall II study. We confirmed four previously reported FVII-associated loci (GCKR, MS4A6A, F7 and PROCR) in CARe EA samples. In AAs, the F7 and PROCR regions were significantly associated with FVII. Several of the FVII-associated regions are known to be associated with lipids and other cardiovascular-related traits. At the F7 locus, there was evidence of at least five independently associated SNPs in EAs and three independent signals in AAs. Though the variance in FVII explained by the existing loci is substantial (20% in EA and 10% in AA), larger sample sizes and investigation of lower frequency variants may be required to identify additional FVII-associated loci in EAs and AAs and further clarify the relationship between FVII and other CVD risk factors.
DNA sequence diversity within the human genome may be more greatly affected by copy number variations (CNVs) than single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs). Although the importance of CNVs in genome wide association studies (GWAS) is becoming widely accepted, the optimal methods for identifying these variants are still under evaluation. We have previously reported a comprehensive view of CNVs in the HapMap DNA collection using high density 500 K EA (Early Access) SNP genotyping arrays which revealed greater than 1,000 CNVs ranging in size from 1 kb to over 3 Mb. Although the arrays used most commonly for GWAS predominantly interrogate SNPs, CNV identification and detection does not necessarily require the use of DNA probes centered on polymorphic nucleotides and may even be hindered by the dependence on a successful SNP genotyping assay.
In this study, we have designed and evaluated a high density array predicated on the use of non-polymorphic oligonucleotide probes for CNV detection. This approach effectively uncouples copy number detection from SNP genotyping and thus has the potential to significantly improve probe coverage for genome-wide CNV identification. This array, in conjunction with PCR-based, complexity-reduced DNA target, queries over 1.3 M independent NspI restriction enzyme fragments in the 200 bp to 1100 bp size range, which is a several fold increase in marker density as compared to the 500 K EA array. In addition, a novel algorithm was developed and validated to extract CNV regions and boundaries.
Using a well-characterized pair of DNA samples, close to 200 CNVs were identified, of which nearly 50% appear novel yet were independently validated using quantitative PCR. The results indicate that non-polymorphic probes provide a robust approach for CNV identification, and the increasing precision of CNV boundary delineation should allow a more complete analysis of their genomic organization.
Genetic isolates such as the Ashkenazi Jews (AJ) potentially offer advantages in mapping novel loci in whole genome disease association studies. To analyze patterns of genetic variation in AJ, genotypes of 101 healthy individuals were determined using the Affymetrix EAv3 500 K SNP array and compared to 60 CEPH-derived HapMap (CEU) individuals. 435,632 SNPs overlapped and met annotation criteria in the two groups.
A small but significant global difference in allele frequencies between AJ and CEU was demonstrated by a mean FST of 0.009 (P < 0.001); large regions that differed were found on chromosomes 2 and 6. Haplotype blocks inferred from pairwise linkage disequilibrium (LD) statistics (Haploview) as well as by expectation-maximization haplotype phase inference (HAP) showed a greater number of haplotype blocks in AJ compared to CEU by Haploview (50,397 vs. 44,169) or by HAP (59,269 vs. 54,457). Average haplotype blocks were smaller in AJ compared to CEU (e.g., 36.8 kb vs. 40.5 kb HAP). Analysis of global patterns of local LD decay for closely-spaced SNPs in CEU demonstrated more LD, while for SNPs further apart, LD was slightly greater in the AJ. A likelihood ratio approach showed that runs of homozygous SNPs were approximately 20% longer in AJ. A principal components analysis was sufficient to completely resolve the CEU from the AJ.
LD in the AJ versus was lower than expected by some measures and higher by others. Any putative advantage in whole genome association mapping using the AJ population will be highly dependent on regional LD structure.
Long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs), representing a large proportion of non-coding transcripts across the human genome, are evolutionally conserved and biologically functional. At least one-third of the phenotype-related loci identified by genome-wide association studies (GWAS) are mapped to non-coding intervals. However, the relationships between phenotype-related loci and lncRNAs are largely unknown. Utilizing the 1000 Genomes data, we compared single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) within the sequences of lncRNA and protein-coding genes as defined in the Ensembl database. We further annotated the phenotype-related SNPs reported by GWAS at lncRNA intervals. Because prostate cancer (PCa) risk-related loci were enriched in lncRNAs, we then performed meta-analysis of two existing GWAS for discovery and an additional sample set for replication, revealing PCa risk-related loci at lncRNA regions. The SNP density in regions of lncRNA was similar to that in protein-coding regions, but they were less polymorphic than surrounding regions. Among the 1998 phenotype-related SNPs identified by GWAS, 52 loci were located directly in lncRNA intervals with a 1.5-fold enrichment compared with the entire genome. More than a 5-fold enrichment was observed for eight PCa risk-related loci in lncRNA genes. We also identified a new PCa risk-related SNP rs3787016 in an lncRNA region at 19q13 (per allele odds ratio = 1.19; 95% confidence interval: 1.11–1.27) with P value of 7.22 × 10−7. lncRNAs may be important for interpreting and mining GWAS data. However, the catalog of lncRNAs needs to be better characterized in order to fully evaluate the relationship of phenotype-related loci with lncRNAs.
Although high-density whole-genome SNP scans are available for association studies, the tagging SNP approach used to design many of these panels from International HapMap Project data may miss a substantial number of coding functional variations of drug metabolism enzymes (DME). In fact, more than 40 DME genes are not covered by the HapMap Project, probably due to the difficulties in assay design for these highly homologous gene families. Additionally, many of these technologies do not provide detection in a high number of known DME genes, leading to further gaps in whole-genome scans. Of the polymorphic putative functional DME variants not typed in Hap-Map, a large proportion is untagged by any combination of HapMap SNPs. Therefore, to correlate phenotypes to putative functional DME variations in pharmacogenomic studies, direct genotyping of these functional SNPs will be necessary. Applied Biosystems has developed a panel of N = 2394 TaqMan Drug Metabolism Genotyping Assays to interrogate putative functional variations in N = 220 DME genes. At the National Cancer Institute’s Core Genotyping Facility, an automated, high-throughput pipeline has been created to genotype these assays on the International HapMap Project population. DNA sample preparation and handling, assay set-up, genotype analysis, and data publishing at SNP500 Cancer Database (http://snp500cancer.nci.nih.gov), have all been automated. Using a series of custom-designed methods on five Beckman Coulter Biomek FXs, a Laboratory Information Management System, and analysis software, >650,000 genotypes have been obtained and analyzed by a single person in about 8 weeks. Using this pipeline, a completion rate of >99% and no Mendelian inheritance errors were observed. Furthermore, the CGF has implemented quality-controlled, automated pipelines for sample receiving, quantification, numerous DNA handling procedures, genotyping, and analysis for all samples and studies processed.
Over the last 10 years, high-density SNP arrays and DNA re-sequencing have illuminated the majority of the genotypic space for a number of organisms, including humans, maize, rice and Arabidopsis. For any researcher willing to define and score a phenotype across many individuals, Genome Wide Association Studies (GWAS) present a powerful tool to reconnect this trait back to its underlying genetics. In this review we discuss the biological and statistical considerations that underpin a successful analysis or otherwise. The relevance of biological factors including effect size, sample size, genetic heterogeneity, genomic confounding, linkage disequilibrium and spurious association, and statistical tools to account for these are presented. GWAS can offer a valuable first insight into trait architecture or candidate loci for subsequent validation.
GWAS; Arabidopsis; Mixed model; Effect size; Genetic heterogeneity
Genome-wide association (GWA) using large numbers of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) is now a powerful, state-of-the-art approach to mapping human disease genes. When a GWA study detects association between a SNP and the disease, this signal usually represents association with a set of several highly correlated SNPs in strong linkage disequilibrium. The challenge we address is to distinguish among these correlated loci to highlight potential functional variants and prioritize them for follow-up.
We implemented a systematic method for testing association across diverse population samples having differing histories and LD patterns, using a logistic regression framework. The hypothesis is that important underlying biological mechanisms are shared across human populations, and we can filter correlated variants by testing for heterogeneity of genetic effects in different population samples. This approach formalizes the descriptive comparison of p-values that has typified similar cross-population fine-mapping studies to date. We applied this method to correlated SNPs in the cholinergic nicotinic receptor gene cluster CHRNA5-CHRNA3-CHRNB4, in a case-control study of cocaine dependence composed of 504 European-American and 583 African-American samples. Of the 10 SNPs genotyped in the r2 ≥ 0.8 bin for rs16969968, three demonstrated significant cross-population heterogeneity and are filtered from priority follow-up; the remaining SNPs include rs16969968 (heterogeneity p = 0.75). Though the power to filter out rs16969968 is reduced due to the difference in allele frequency in the two groups, the results nevertheless focus attention on a smaller group of SNPs that includes the non-synonymous SNP rs16969968, which retains a similar effect size (odds ratio) across both population samples.
Filtering out SNPs that demonstrate cross-population heterogeneity enriches for variants more likely to be important and causative. Our approach provides an important and effective tool to help interpret results from the many GWA studies now underway.
Inherited genetic variation has a critical but as yet largely uncharacterized role in human disease. Here we report a public database of common variation in the human genome: more than one million single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) for which accurate and complete genotypes have been obtained in 269 DNA samples from four populations, including ten 500-kilobase regions in which essentially all information about common DNA variation has been extracted. These data document the generality of recombination hotspots, a block-like structure of linkage disequilibrium and low haplotype diversity, leading to substantial correlations of SNPs with many of their neighbours. We show how the HapMap resource can guide the design and analysis of genetic association studies, shed light on structural variation and recombination, and identify loci that may have been subject to natural selection during human evolution.
New advances in genomic technology are being introduced at a greater speed and are revolutionizing the field of genetics for both complex and Mendelian diseases. For instance, during the past few years, genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have identified a large number of significant associations between genomic loci and movement disorders such as Parkinson’s disease and progressive supranuclear palsy. GWAS are carried out through the use of high-throughput SNP genotyping arrays, which are also used to perform linkage analyses in families previously considered statistically underpowered for genetic analyses. In inherited movement disorders, using this latter technology, it has repeatedly been shown that mutations in a single gene can lead to different phenotypes, while the same clinical entity can be caused by mutations in different genes. This is being highlighted with the use of next-generation sequencing technologies and leads to the search for genes or genetic modifiers that contribute to the phenotypic expression of movement disorders. Establishing an accurate genome–epigenome–phenotype relationship is becoming a major challenge in the post-genomic research that should be facilitated through the implementation of both functional and cellular analyses. In this review, we summarize the latest genetic discoveries made by the use of NGS technologies and purpose future directions and challenges to truly understand the pathophysiology of MDs.
next-generation sequencing; movement disorders; gene discovery; novel neurological phenotypes
SNP genotyping arrays have been useful for many applications that require a large number of molecular markers such as high-density genetic mapping, genome-wide association studies (GWAS), and genomic selection. We report the establishment of a large maize SNP array and its use for diversity analysis and high density linkage mapping. The markers, taken from more than 800,000 SNPs, were selected to be preferentially located in genes and evenly distributed across the genome. The array was tested with a set of maize germplasm including North American and European inbred lines, parent/F1 combinations, and distantly related teosinte material. A total of 49,585 markers, including 33,417 within 17,520 different genes and 16,168 outside genes, were of good quality for genotyping, with an average failure rate of 4% and rates up to 8% in specific germplasm. To demonstrate this array's use in genetic mapping and for the independent validation of the B73 sequence assembly, two intermated maize recombinant inbred line populations – IBM (B73×Mo17) and LHRF (F2×F252) – were genotyped to establish two high density linkage maps with 20,913 and 14,524 markers respectively. 172 mapped markers were absent in the current B73 assembly and their placement can be used for future improvements of the B73 reference sequence. Colinearity of the genetic and physical maps was mostly conserved with some exceptions that suggest errors in the B73 assembly. Five major regions containing non-colinearities were identified on chromosomes 2, 3, 6, 7 and 9, and are supported by both independent genetic maps. Four additional non-colinear regions were found on the LHRF map only; they may be due to a lower density of IBM markers in those regions or to true structural rearrangements between lines. Given the array's high quality, it will be a valuable resource for maize genetics and many aspects of maize breeding.
Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have identified more than 2,000 trait-SNP associations, and the number continues to increase. GWAS have focused on traits with potential consequences for human fitness, including many immunological, metabolic, cardiovascular, and behavioral phenotypes. Given the polygenic nature of complex traits, selection may exert its influence on them by altering allele frequencies at many associated loci, a possibility which has yet to be explored empirically. Here we use 38 different measures of allele frequency variation and 8 iHS scores to characterize over 1,300 GWAS SNPs in 53 globally distributed human populations. We apply these same techniques to evaluate SNPs grouped by trait association. We find that groups of SNPs associated with pigmentation, blood pressure, infectious disease, and autoimmune disease traits exhibit unusual allele frequency patterns and elevated iHS scores in certain geographical locations. We also find that GWAS SNPs have generally elevated scores for measures of allele frequency variation and for iHS in Eurasia and East Asia. Overall, we believe that our results provide evidence for selection on several complex traits that has caused changes in allele frequencies and/or elevated iHS scores at a number of associated loci. Since GWAS SNPs collectively exhibit elevated allele frequency measures and iHS scores, selection on complex traits may be quite widespread. Our findings are most consistent with this selection being either positive or negative, although the relative contributions of the two are difficult to discern. Our results also suggest that trait-SNP associations identified in Eurasian samples may not be present in Africa, Oceania, and the Americas, possibly due to differences in linkage disequilibrium patterns. This observation suggests that non-Eurasian and non-East Asian sample populations should be included in future GWAS.
Natural selection exerts its influence by changing allele frequencies at genomic polymorphisms. Alleles associated with harmful traits decrease in frequency while those associated with beneficial traits become more common. In a simple case, selection acts on a trait controlled by a single polymorphism; a large change in allele frequency at this polymorphism can eliminate a deleterious phenotype from a population or fix a beneficial one. However, many phenotypes, including diseases like Type 2 Diabetes, Crohn's disease, and prostate cancer, and physiological traits like height, weight, and hair color, are controlled by multiple genomic loci. Selection may act on such traits by influencing allele frequencies at a single associated polymorphism or by altering allele frequencies at many associated polymorphisms. To search for cases of the latter, we assembled groups of genomic polymorphisms sharing a common trait association and examined their allele frequencies across 53 globally distributed populations looking for commonalities in allelic behavior across geographical space. We find that variants associated with blood pressure tend to correlate with latitude, while those associated with HIV/AIDS progression correlate well with longitude. We also find evidence that selection may be acting worldwide to increase the frequencies of alleles that elevate autoimmune disease risk.