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author:("Ke, xiaoi")
1.  Genome-wide association study meta-analysis identifies seven new rheumatoid arthritis risk loci 
Nature genetics  2010;42(6):508-514.
To identify novel genetic risk factors for rheumatoid arthritis (RA), we conducted a genome-wide association study (GWAS) meta-analysis of 5,539 autoantibody positive RA cases and 20,169 controls of European descent, followed by replication in an independent set of 6,768 RA cases and 8,806 controls. Of 34 SNPs selected for replication, 7 novel RA risk alleles were identified at genome-wide significance (P<5×10−8) in analysis of all 41,282 samples. The associated SNPs are near genes of known immune function, including IL6ST, SPRED2, RBPJ, CCR6, IRF5, and PXK. We also refined the risk alleles at two established RA risk loci (IL2RA and CCL21) and confirmed the association at AFF3. These new associations bring the total number of confirmed RA risk loci to 31 among individuals of European ancestry. An additional 11 SNPs replicated at P<0.05, many of which are validated autoimmune risk alleles, suggesting that most represent bona fide RA risk alleles.
PMCID: PMC4243840  PMID: 20453842
2.  Genome-wide association uncovers shared genetic effects among personality traits and mood states 
Measures of personality and psychological distress are correlated and exhibit genetic covariance. We conducted univariate genome-wide SNP (~2.5 million) and gene-based association analyses of these traits and examined the overlap in results across traits, including a prediction analysis of mood states using genetic polygenic scores for personality. Measures of neuroticism, extraversion, and symptoms of anxiety, depression, and general psychological distress were collected in eight European cohorts (n ranged 546 to 1 338; maximum total n=6 268) whose mean age ranged from 55 to 79 years. Meta-analysis of the cohort results was performed, with follow-up associations of the top SNPs and genes investigated in independent cohorts (n=527 to 6 032). Suggestive association (P=8×10−8) of rs1079196 in the FHIT gene was observed with symptoms of anxiety. Other notable associations (P<6.09×10−6) included SNPs in five genes for neuroticism (LCE3C, POLR3A, LMAN1L, ULK3, SCAMP2), KIAA0802 for extraversion, and NOS1 for general psychological distress. An association between symptoms of depression and rs7582472 (near to MGAT5 and NCKAP5) was replicated in two independent samples, but other replication findings were less consistent. Gene-based tests identified a significant locus on chromosome 15 (spanning five genes) associated with neuroticism which replicated (P<0.05) in an independent cohort. Support for common genetic effects among personality and mood (particularly neuroticism and depressive symptoms) was found in terms of SNP association overlap and polygenic score prediction. The variance explained by individual SNPs was very small (up to 1%) confirming that there are no moderate/large effects of common SNPs on personality and related traits.
PMCID: PMC3795298  PMID: 22628180
GWAS; extraversion; neuroticism; anxiety; depression
3.  Evolutionary conserved longevity genes and human cognitive abilities in elderly cohorts 
Genetic influences have an important role in the ageing process. The genetic factors that influence success in bodily ageing may also contribute to the successful ageing of cognitive abilities. A comparative genomics approach found longevity genes conserved between yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae and nematode Caenorhabditis elegans. We hypothesised that these longevity genes influence variance in cognitive ability and age-related cognitive decline in humans. Here, we investigated six of these genes that have human orthologs and show expression in the brain. We tested AFG3L2 (MIM: 604581, AFG3 ATPase family gene 3-like 2 (yeast)), FRAP1 (MIM: 601231, a FK506 binding protein 12-rapamycin associated protein), MAT1A, MAT2A (MIM: 610550 and 601468, methionine adenosyltransferases I alpha and II alpha, respectively), SYNJ1 and SYNJ2 (MIM: 604297 and 609410, synaptojanin-1 and synaptojanin-2, respectively) in approximately 1000 healthy older Scots: the Lothian Birth Cohort 1936 (LBC1936). They were tested on general cognitive ability at age 11 years. At a mean age of 70 years, they re-sat the same general cognitive ability test and underwent an additional battery of diverse cognitive tests. In all, 70 tag and functional SNPs in the six longevity genes were genotyped and tested for association with cognition and cognitive ageing in LBC1936. Suggestive associations were detected between SNPs in SYNJ2, MAT1A, AFG3L2 and SYNJ1 and a general memory factor and general cognitive ability at age 11 and 70 years. Replication studies for cognitive ability associations were performed in 2506 samples from the Cognitive Ageing Genetics in England and Scotland consortium. A meta-analysis replicated the SYNJ2 association with cognitive abilities (lowest P=0.00077). SYNJ2 is a novel gene in which variation is potentially associated with cognitive abilities.
PMCID: PMC3283186  PMID: 22045296
cognition; cognitive ageing; longevity genes; gene association; SYNJ2
4.  Genetic Copy Number Variation and General Cognitive Ability 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(12):e37385.
Differences in genomic structure between individuals are ubiquitous features of human genetic variation. Specific copy number variants (CNVs) have been associated with susceptibility to numerous complex psychiatric disorders, including attention-deficit-hyperactivity disorder, autism-spectrum disorders and schizophrenia. These disorders often display co-morbidity with low intelligence. Rare chromosomal deletions and duplications are associated with these disorders, so it has been suggested that these deletions or duplications may be associated with differences in intelligence. Here we investigate associations between large (≥500kb), rare (<1% population frequency) CNVs and both fluid and crystallized intelligence in community-dwelling older people. We observe no significant associations between intelligence and total CNV load. Examining individual CNV regions previously implicated in neuropsychological disorders, we find suggestive evidence that CNV regions around SHANK3 are associated with fluid intelligence as derived from a battery of cognitive tests. This is the first study to examine the effects of rare CNVs as called by multiple algorithms on cognition in a large non-clinical sample, and finds no effects of such variants on general cognitive ability.
PMCID: PMC3530597  PMID: 23300510
5.  Genome-wide association studies establish that human intelligence is highly heritable and polygenic 
Molecular psychiatry  2011;16(10):996-1005.
General intelligence is an important human quantitative trait that accounts for much of the variation in diverse cognitive abilities. Individual differences in intelligence are strongly associated with many important life outcomes, including educational and occupational attainments, income, health and lifespan1,2. Data from twin and family studies are consistent with a high heritability of intelligence3, but this inference has been controversial. We conducted a genome-wide analysis of 3511 unrelated adults with data on 549 692 SNPs and detailed phenotypes on cognitive traits. We estimate that 40% of the variation in crystallized-type intelligence and 51% of the variation in fluid-type intelligence between individuals is accounted for by linkage disequilibrium between genotyped common SNP markers and unknown causal variants. These estimates provide lower bounds for the narrow-sense heritability of the traits. We partitioned genetic variation on individual chromosomes and found that, on average, longer chromosomes explain more variation. Finally, using just SNP data we predicted approximately 1% of the variance of crystallized and fluid cognitive phenotypes in an independent sample (P = 0.009 and 0.028, respectively). Our results unequivocally confirm that a substantial proportion of individual differences in human intelligence is due to genetic variation, and are consistent with many genes of small effects underlying the additive genetic influences on intelligence.
PMCID: PMC3182557  PMID: 21826061
Intelligence; genetics; GWAS; quantitative trait
8.  Genetic variants at CD28, PRDM1, and CD2/CD58 are associated with rheumatoid arthritis risk 
Nature genetics  2009;41(12):1313-1318.
To discover novel RA risk loci, we systematically examined 370 SNPs from 179 independent loci with p<0.001 in a published meta-analysis of RA GWAS of 3,393 cases and 12,462 controls1. We used GRAIL2, a computational method that applies statistical text mining to PubMed abstracts, to score these 179 loci for functional relationships to genes in 16 established RA disease loci1,3-11. We identified 22 loci with a significant degree of functional connectivity. We genotyped 22 representative SNPs in an independent set of 7,957 cases and 11,958 matched controls. Three validate convincingly: CD2/CD58 (rs11586238, p=1×10−6 replication, p=1×10−9 overall), and CD28 (rs1980422, p=5×10−6 replication, p=1×10−9 overall), PRDM1 (rs548234, p=1×10−5 replication, p=2×10−8 overall). An additional four replicate (p<0.0023): TAGAP (rs394581, p=0.0002 replication, p=4×10−7 overall), PTPRC (rs10919563, p=0.0003 replication, p=7×10−7 overall), TRAF6/RAG1 (rs540386, p=0.0008 replication, p=4×10−6 overall), and FCGR2A (rs12746613, p=0.0022 replication, p=2×10−5 overall). Many of these loci are also associated to other immunologic diseases.
PMCID: PMC3142887  PMID: 19898481
9.  Association of the IL2RA/CD25 gene with juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA) 
Arthritis and rheumatism  2009;60(1):251-257.
The interleukin 2 receptor alpha (IL2RA/CD25) gene is emerging as a general susceptibility gene for autoimmune diseases due to its role in development and function of T regulatory cells and the association of SNPs within this gene with type 1 diabetes, Graves' disease, RA and multiple sclerosis. The aim of this study was to determine whether SNPs within the IL2RA/CD25 gene are associated with juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA).
Three SNPs within the IL2RA/CD25 gene, that showed previous evidence for association with either rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis or type 1 diabetes, were selected for genotyping in UK JIA cases (n=654) and controls (n=3849). Data for one SNP (rs2104286) was also available from North American JIA cases (n=747) and controls (n=1161). Association analysis was performed using PLINK.
The SNP (rs2104286) within the IL2RA/CD25 gene was significantly associated with UK JIA cases (allelic OR 0.76 95% CI 0.66-0.88, trend p=0.0002). A second SNP (rs41295061) also showed modest evidence for association with JIA (OR 0.80 95% CI 0.63-1.0, p=0.05). Association with rs2104286 was convincingly replicated in a second JIA cohort (OR 0.84 95% CI 0.65-1.0, trend p=0.05). Meta-analysis of the two cohorts yielded highly significant evidence for association (OR 0.76 95% CI 0.62-0.88, p=4.9 × 10−6).
These results provide strong evidence that the IL2RA/CD25 gene represents a JIA susceptibility locus. Further investigation of the gene using both genetic and functional approaches is now required.
PMCID: PMC2963023  PMID: 19116909
10.  Rare variation at the TNFAIP3 locus and susceptibility to rheumatoid arthritis 
Human Genetics  2010;128(6):627-633.
Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) conducted using commercial single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNP) arrays have proven to be a powerful tool for the detection of common disease susceptibility variants. However, their utility for the detection of lower frequency variants is yet to be practically investigated. Here we describe the application of a rare variant collapsing method to a large genome-wide SNP dataset, the Wellcome Trust Case Control Consortium rheumatoid arthritis (RA) GWAS. We partitioned the data into gene-centric bins and collapsed genotypes of low frequency variants (defined here as MAF ≤0.05) into a single count coupled with univariate analysis. We then prioritised gene regions for further investigation in an independent cohort of 3,355 cases and 2,427 controls based on rare variant signal p value and prior evidence to support involvement in RA. A total of 14,536 gene bins were investigated in the primary analysis and signals mapping to the TNFAIP3 and chr17q24 loci were selected for further investigation. We detected replicating association to low frequency variants in the TNFAIP3 gene (combined p = 6.6 × 10−6). Even though rare variants are not well-represented and can be difficult to genotype in GWAS, our study supports the application of low frequency variant collapsing methods to genome-wide SNP datasets as a means of exploiting data that are routinely ignored.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s00439-010-0889-1) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC2978888  PMID: 20852893
11.  Overlap of disease susceptibility loci for rheumatoid arthritis and juvenile idiopathic arthritis 
Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases  2010;69(6):1049-1053.
Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have been extremely successful in the search for susceptibility risk factors for complex genetic autoimmune diseases. As more studies are published, evidence is emerging of considerable overlap of loci between these diseases. In juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA), another complex genetic autoimmune disease, the strategy of using information from autoimmune disease GWAS or candidate gene studies to help in the search for novel JIA susceptibility loci has been successful, with confirmed association with two genes, PTPN22 and IL2RA. Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disease that shares similar clinical and pathological features with JIA and, therefore, recently identified confirmed RA susceptibility loci are also excellent JIA candidate loci.
To determine the overlap of disease susceptibility loci for RA and JIA.
Fifteen single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) at nine RA-associated loci were genotyped in Caucasian patients with JIA (n=1054) and controls (n=3531) and tested for association with JIA. Allele and genotype frequencies were compared between cases and controls using the genetic analysis software, PLINK.
Two JIA susceptibility loci were identified, one of which was a novel JIA association (STAT4) and the second confirmed previously published associations of the TRAF1/C5 locus with JIA. Weak evidence of association of JIA with three additional loci (Chr6q23, KIF5A and PRKCQ) was also obtained, which warrants further investigation.
All these loci are good candidates in view of the known pathogenesis of JIA, as genes within these regions (TRAF1, STAT4, TNFAIP3, PRKCQ) are known to be involved in T-cell receptor signalling or activation pathways.
PMCID: PMC2935325  PMID: 19674979
12.  Observational study on variability between biobanks in the estimation of DNA concentration 
BMC Research Notes  2009;2:208.
There is little confidence in the consistency of estimation of DNA concentrations when samples move between laboratories. Evidence on this consistency is largely anecdotal. Therefore there is a need first to measure this consistency among different laboratories and then identify and implement remedies. A pilot experiment to test logistics and provide initial data on consistency was therefore conceived.
DNA aliquots at nominal concentrations between 10 and 300 ng/μl were dispensed into the wells of 96-well plates by one participant - the coordinating centre. Participants estimated the concentration in each well and returned estimates to the coordinating centre.
Considerable overall variability was observed among estimates. There were statistically significant differences between participants' measurements and between fluorescence emission and absorption spectroscopy.
Anecdotal evidence of variability in DNA concentration estimation has been substantiated. Reduction in variability between participants will require the identification of major sources of variation, specification of effective remedies and their implementation.
PMCID: PMC2765451  PMID: 19825187
13.  Investigating the viability of genetic screening/testing for RA susceptibility using combinations of five confirmed risk loci 
Rheumatology (Oxford, England)  2009;48(11):1369-1374.
Objective. Five loci—the shared epitope (SE) of HLA-DRB1, the PTPN22 gene, a locus on 6q23, the STAT4 gene and a locus mapping to the TRAF1/C5 genetic region—have now been unequivocally confirmed as conferring susceptibility to RA. The largest single effect is conferred by SE. We hypothesized that combinations of susceptibility alleles may increase risk over and above that of any individual locus alone.
Methods. We analysed data from 4238 RA cases and 1811 controls, for which genotypes were available at all five loci.
Results. Statistical analysis identified eight high-risk combinations conferring an odds ratio >6 compared with carriage of no susceptibility variants and, interestingly, 10% population controls carried a combination conferring high risk. All high-risk combinations included SE, and all but one contained PTPN22. Statistical modelling showed that a model containing only these two loci could achieve comparable sensitivity and specificity to a model including all five. Furthermore, replacing SE (which requires full subtyping at the HLA-DRB1 gene) with DRB1*1/4/10 carriage resulted in little further loss of information (correlation coefficient between models = 0.93).
Conclusions. This represents the first exploration of the viability of population screening for RA and identifies several high-risk genetic combinations. However, given the population incidence of RA, genetic screening based on these loci alone is neither sufficiently sensitive nor specific at the current time.
PMCID: PMC2762544  PMID: 19741008
Rheumatoid arthritis; Genetics
14.  Association of CD40 with rheumatoid arthritis confirmed in a large UK case-control study 
Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases  2009;69(5):813-816.
A recent meta-analysis of published genome-wide association studies (GWAS) in populations of European descent reported novel associations of markers mapping to the CD40, CCL21 and CDK6 genes with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) susceptibility while a large-scale, case-control association study in a Japanese population identified association with multiple single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the CD244 gene. The aim of the current study was to validate these potential RA susceptibility markers in a UK population.
A total of 4 SNPs (rs4810485 in CD40, rs2812378 in CCL21, rs42041 in CDK6 and rs6682654 in CD244) were genotyped in a UK cohort comprising 3962 UK patients with RA and 3531 healthy controls using the Sequenom iPlex platform. Genotype counts in patients and controls were analysed with the χ2 test using Stata.
Association to the CD40 gene was robustly replicated (p=2×10−4, OR 0.86, 95% CI 0.79 to 0.93) and modest evidence was found for association with the CCL21 locus (p=0.04, OR 1.08, 95% CI 1.01 to 1.16). However, there was no evidence for association of rs42041 (CDK6) and rs6682654 (CD244) with RA susceptibility in this UK population. Following a meta-analysis including the original data, association to CD40 was confirmed (p=7.8×10−8, OR 0.87 (95% CI 0.83 to 0.92).
In this large UK cohort, strong association of the CD40 gene with susceptibility to RA was found, and weaker evidence for association with RA in the CCL21 locus.
PMCID: PMC3009392  PMID: 19435719
15.  Combined effects of three independent SNPs greatly increase the risk estimate for RA at 6q23 
Human Molecular Genetics  2009;18(14):2693-2699.
The most consistent finding derived from the WTCCC GWAS for rheumatoid arthritis (RA) was association to a SNP at 6q23. We performed a fine-mapping of the region in order to search the 6q23 region for additional disease variants. 3962 RA patients and 3531 healthy controls were included in the study. We found 18 SNPs associated with RA. The SNP showing the strongest association was rs6920220 [P = 2.6 × 10−6, OR (95% CI) 1.22 (1.13–1.33)]. The next most strongly associated SNP was rs13207033 [P = 0.0001, OR (95% CI) 0.86 (0.8–0.93)] which was perfectly correlated with rs10499194, a SNP previously associated with RA in a US/European series. Additionally, we found a number of new potential RA markers, including rs5029937, located in the intron 2 of TNFAIP3. Of the 18 associated SNPs, three polymorphisms, rs6920220, rs13207033 and rs5029937, remained significant after conditional logistic regression analysis. The combination of the carriage of both risk alleles of rs6920220 and rs5029937 together with the absence of the protective allele of rs13207033 was strongly associated with RA when compared with carriage of none [OR of 1.86 (95% CI) (1.51–2.29)]. This equates to an effect size of 1.50 (95% CI 1.21–1.85) compared with controls and is higher than that obtained for any SNP individually. This is the first study to show that the confirmed loci from the GWA studies, that confer only a modest effect size, could harbour a significantly greater effect once the effect of additional risk variants are accounted for.
PMCID: PMC2701332  PMID: 19417005
16.  Rheumatoid arthritis association at 6q23 
Nature genetics  2007;39(12):1431-1433.
The Wellcome Trust Case Control Consortium (WTCCC) identified nine single SNPs putatively associated with rheumatoid arthritis at P = 1 × 10 -5 - 5 × 10-7 in a genome-wide association screen. One, rs6920220, was unequivocally replicated (trend P = 1.1 × 10-8) in a validation study, as described here. This SNP maps to 6q23, between the genes oligodendrocyte lineage transcription factor 3 (OLIG3) and tumor necrosis factor-α-induced protein 3 (TNFAIP3).
PMCID: PMC2674282  PMID: 17982455
17.  A high resolution HLA and SNP haplotype map for disease association studies in the extended human MHC 
Nature genetics  2006;38(10):1166-1172.
The proteins encoded by the classical HLA class I and class II genes in the major histocompatibility complex (MHC) are highly polymorphic and play an essential role in self/non-self immune recognition. HLA variation is a crucial determinant of transplant rejection and susceptibility to a large number of infectious and autoimmune disease1. Yet identification of causal variants is problematic due to linkage disequilibrium (LD) that extends across multiple HLA and non-HLA genes in the MHC2,3. We therefore set out to characterize the LD patterns between the highly polymorphic HLA genes and background variation by typing the classical HLA genes and >7,500 common single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and deletion/insertion polymorphisms (DIPs) across four population samples. The analysis provides informative tag SNPs that capture some of the variation in the MHC region and that could be used in initial disease association studies, and provides new insight into the evolutionary dynamics and ancestral origins of the HLA loci and their haplotypes.
PMCID: PMC2670196  PMID: 16998491
18.  Identification of AF4/FMR2 family, member 3 (AFF3) as a novel rheumatoid arthritis susceptibility locus and confirmation of two further pan-autoimmune susceptibility genes 
Human Molecular Genetics  2009;18(13):2518-2522.
The concept of susceptibility genes common to different autoimmune diseases is now firmly established with previous studies demonstrating overlap of loci conferring susceptibility to type 1 diabetes (T1D) with both Coeliac disease and multiple sclerosis. Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an archetypal autoimmune disease and we, therefore, targeted putative T1D susceptibility loci for genotyping in UK RA cases and unrelated controls. A novel RA susceptibility locus at AFF3 was identified with convincing evidence for association in a combined sample cohort of 6819 RA cases and 12 650 controls [OR 1.12 95% confidence intervals (CI) 1.07–1.17, P = 2.8 × 10−7]. Association of two previously described loci (CTLA-4 and 4q27) with RA was also replicated (OR 0.87, 95% CI 0.82–0.94, P = 1.1 × 10−4 and OR 0.86, 95% CI 0.79–0.94, P = 5.4 × 10−4, respectively). These findings take the number of established RA susceptibility loci to 13, only one of which has not been associated with other autoimmune diseases.
PMCID: PMC2694689  PMID: 19359276
19.  Identification of novel RA susceptibility loci at chromosomes 10p15, 12q13 and 22q13 
Nature genetics  2008;40(10):1156-1159.
The WTCCC study identified 49 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) putatively associated with RA at p=1×10-4-1×10-5 (Tier 3). Here, we show that 3 of these SNPs, mapping to chromosome 10p15 (rs4750316), 12q13 (rs1678542) and 22q13 (rs3218253), are also associated (trend p = 4×10-5, p=4×10-4 and p=4×10-4, respectively) in a validation study of 4,106 RA cases and an expanded reference group of 11,238 subjects, confirming them as true susceptibility loci in Caucasians.
PMCID: PMC2662493  PMID: 18794857
20.  Re-evaluation of putative rheumatoid arthritis susceptibility genes in the post-genome wide association study era and hypothesis of a key pathway underlying susceptibility 
Human Molecular Genetics  2008;17(15):2274-2279.
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an archetypal, common, complex autoimmune disease with both genetic and environmental contributions to disease aetiology. Two novel RA susceptibility loci have been reported from recent genome-wide and candidate gene association studies. We, therefore, investigated the evidence for association of the STAT4 and TRAF1/C5 loci with RA using imputed data from the Wellcome Trust Case Control Consortium (WTCCC). No evidence for association of variants mapping to the TRAF1/C5 gene was detected in the 1860 RA cases and 2930 control samples tested in that study. Variants mapping to the STAT4 gene did show evidence for association (rs7574865, P = 0.04). Given the association of the TRAF1/C5 locus in two previous large case–control series from populations of European descent and the evidence for association of the STAT4 locus in the WTCCC study, single nucleotide polymorphisms mapping to these loci were tested for association with RA in an independent UK series comprising DNA from >3000 cases with disease and >3000 controls and a combined analysis including the WTCCC data was undertaken. We confirm association of the STAT4 and the TRAF1/C5 loci with RA bringing to 5 the number of confirmed susceptibility loci. The effect sizes are less than those reported previously but are likely to be a more accurate reflection of the true effect size given the larger size of the cohort investigated in the current study.
PMCID: PMC2465799  PMID: 18434327
21.  An Evaluation of the Performance of Tag SNPs Derived from HapMap in a Caucasian Population 
PLoS Genetics  2006;2(3):e27.
The Haplotype Map (HapMap) project recently generated genotype data for more than 1 million single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in four population samples. The main application of the data is in the selection of tag single-nucleotide polymorphisms (tSNPs) to use in association studies. The usefulness of this selection process needs to be verified in populations outside those used for the HapMap project. In addition, it is not known how well the data represent the general population, as only 90–120 chromosomes were used for each population and since the genotyped SNPs were selected so as to have high frequencies. In this study, we analyzed more than 1,000 individuals from Estonia. The population of this northern European country has been influenced by many different waves of migrations from Europe and Russia. We genotyped 1,536 randomly selected SNPs from two 500-kbp ENCODE regions on Chromosome 2. We observed that the tSNPs selected from the CEPH (Centre d'Etude du Polymorphisme Humain) from Utah (CEU) HapMap samples (derived from US residents with northern and western European ancestry) captured most of the variation in the Estonia sample. (Between 90% and 95% of the SNPs with a minor allele frequency of more than 5% have an r2 of at least 0.8 with one of the CEU tSNPs.) Using the reverse approach, tags selected from the Estonia sample could almost equally well describe the CEU sample. Finally, we observed that the sample size, the allelic frequency, and the SNP density in the dataset used to select the tags each have important effects on the tagging performance. Overall, our study supports the use of HapMap data in other Caucasian populations, but the SNP density and the bias towards high-frequency SNPs have to be taken into account when designing association studies.
The recent completion of the Haplotype Map (HapMap) project of the human genome provides considerable information on the patterns of variation in the genome of four populations. One of the applications is a description of a set of tags that act as proxies for many other surrounding variants. This will greatly help researchers in their quest to find complex disease genes by reducing the number of genetic variants to test in association studies. To evaluate its usefulness, several aspects of the map, including its transferability to other populations, still needed to be verified experimentally. Using genomic regions where variants had been thoroughly documented in Caucasian samples from Estonia, the researchers found that the transferability of tags is extremely good. The researchers also found that variants with low frequency in the general population (i.e., less than 5%) could not be accurately captured with tags, and that the regional density of variants in the HapMap project had a major impact on the performance of the tags. This research indicates that the HapMap project will be useful, but that careful consideration of hypotheses and study design will be essential for the success of association studies.
PMCID: PMC1391920  PMID: 16532062
22.  An efficient procedure for genotyping single nucleotide polymorphisms 
Nucleic Acids Research  2001;29(17):e88.
Analysis of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) has been and will be increasingly utilized in various genetic disciplines, particularly in studying genetic determinants of complex diseases. Such studies will be facilitated by rapid, simple, low cost and high throughput methodologies for SNP genotyping. One such method is reported here, named tetra-primer ARMS-PCR, which employs two primer pairs to amplify, respectively, the two different alleles of a SNP in a single PCR reaction. A computer program for designing primers was developed. Tetra-primer ARMS-PCR was combined with microplate array diagonal gel electrophoresis, gaining the advantage of high throughput for gel-based resolution of tetra-primer ARMS-PCR products. The technique was applied to analyse a number of SNPs and the results were completely consistent with those from an independent method, restriction fragment length polymorphism analysis.
PMCID: PMC55900  PMID: 11522844
23.  Identification of a novel susceptibility locus for juvenile idiopathic arthritis by genome-wide association analysis 
Arthritis and Rheumatism  2009;60(1):258-263.
Juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA) is a chronic rheumatic disease of childhood. Two well-established genetic factors known to contribute to JIA susceptibility, HLA and PTPN22, account for less than half of the genetic susceptibility to disease; therefore, additional genetic factors have yet to be identified. The purpose of this study was to perform a systematic search of the genome to identify novel susceptibility loci for JIA.
A genome-wide association study using Affymetrix GeneChip 100K arrays was performed in a discovery cohort (279 cases and 184 controls). Single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) showing the most significant differences between cases and controls were then genotyped in a validation sample of cases (n = 321) and controls, combined with control data from the 1958 UK birth cohort (n = 2,024). In one region in which association was confirmed, fine-mapping was performed (654 cases and 1,847 controls).
Of the 112 SNPs that were significantly associated with JIA in the discovery cohort, 6 SNPs were associated with JIA in the independent validation cohort. The most strongly associated SNP mapped to the HLA region, while the second strongest association was with a SNP within the VTCN1 gene. Fine-mapping of that gene was performed, and 10 SNPs were found to be associated with JIA.
This study is the first to successfully apply a SNP-based genome-wide association approach to the investigation of JIA. The replicated association with markers in the VTCN1 gene defined an additional susceptibility locus for JIA and implicates a novel pathway in the pathogenesis of this chronic disease of childhood.
PMCID: PMC3001111  PMID: 19116933
24.  Association of the IL2RA/CD25 Gene With Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis 
Arthritis and Rheumatism  2009;60(1):251-257.
IL2RA/CD25, the gene for interleukin-2 receptor α, is emerging as a general susceptibility gene for autoimmune diseases because of its role in the development and function of regulatory T cells and the association of single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) within this gene with type 1 diabetes mellitus (DM), Graves' disease, rheumatoid arthritis (RA), and multiple sclerosis (MS). The aim of this study was to determine whether SNPs within the IL2RA/CD25 gene are associated with juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA).
Three SNPs within the IL2RA/CD25 gene, that previously showed evidence of an association with either RA, MS, or type 1 DM, were selected for genotyping in UK JIA cases (n = 654) and controls (n = 3,849). Data for 1 SNP (rs2104286) were also available from North American JIA cases (n = 747) and controls (n = 1,161). Association analyses were performed using Plink software. Odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (95% CIs) were calculated.
SNP rs2104286 within the IL2RA/CD25 gene was significantly associated with UK JIA cases (OR for the allele 0.76 [95% CI 0.66–0.88], P for trend = 0.0002). A second SNP (rs41295061) also showed modest evidence for association with JIA (OR 0.80 [95% CI 0.63–1.0], P = 0.05). Association with rs2104286 was convincingly replicated in the North American JIA cohort (OR 0.84 [95% CI 0.65–0.99], P for trend = 0.05). Meta-analysis of the 2 cohorts yielded highly significant evidence of association with JIA (OR 0.76 [95% CI 0.62–0.88], P = 4.9 × 10−5).
These results provide strong evidence that the IL2RA/CD25 gene represents a JIA susceptibility locus. Further investigation of the gene using both genetic and functional approaches is now required.
PMCID: PMC2963023  PMID: 19116909

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