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1.  Linkage analysis of anorexia and bulimia nervosa cohorts using selected behavioral phenotypes as quantitative traits or covariates 
To increase the likelihood of finding genetic variation conferring liability to eating disorders, we measured over 100 attributes thought to be related to liability to eating disorders on affected individuals from multiplex families and two cohorts: one recruited through a proband with anorexia nervosa (AN; AN cohort); the other recruited through a proband with bulimia nervosa (BN; BN cohort). By a multilayer decision process based on expert evaluation and statistical analysis, six traits were selected for linkage analysis (1): obsessionality (OBS), age at menarche (MENAR) and anxiety (ANX) for quantitative trait locus (QTL) linkage analysis; and lifetime minimum Body Mass Index (BMI), concern over mistakes (CM) and food-related obsessions (OBF) for covariate-based linkage analysis. The BN cohort produced the largest linkage signals: for QTL linkage analysis, four suggestive signals: (for MENAR, at 10p13; for ANX, at 1q31.1, 4q35.2, and 8q13.1); for covariate-based linkage analyses, both significant and suggestive linkages (for BMI, one significant [4q21.1] and three suggestive [3p23, 10p13, 5p15.3]; for CM, two significant [16p13.3, 14q21.1] and three suggestive [4p15.33, 8q11.23, 10p11.21]; and for OBF, one significant [14q21.1] and five suggestive [4p16.1, 10p13.1, 8q11.23, 16p13.3, 18p11.31]). Results from the AN cohort were far less compelling: for QTL linkage analysis, two suggestive signals (for OBS at 6q21 and for ANX at 9p21.3); for covariate-based linkage analysis, five suggestive signals (for BMI at 4q13.1, for CM at 11p11.2 and 17q25.1, and for OBF at 17q25.1 and 15q26.2). Overlap between the two cohorts was minimal for substantial linkage signals.
doi:10.1002/ajmg.b.30226
PMCID: PMC2590774  PMID: 16152574
Complex disease; endophenotype; liability; mixture model; regression
2.  Selection of eating-disorder phenotypes for linkage analysis 
Vulnerability to anorexia nervosa (AN) and bulimia nervosa (BN) arise from the interplay of genetic and environmental factors. To explore the genetic contribution, we measured over 100 psychiatric, personality and temperament phenotypes of individuals with eating disorders from 154 multiplex families accessed through an AN proband (AN cohort) and 244 multiplex families accessed through a BN proband (BN cohort). To select a parsimonious subset of these attributes for linkage analysis, we subjected the variables to a multilayer decision process based on expert evaluation and statistical analysis. Criteria for trait choice included relevance to eating disorders pathology, published evidence for heritability, and results from our data. Based on these criteria, we chose six traits to analyze for linkage. Obsessionality, Age-at-Menarche, and a composite Anxiety measure displayed features of heritable quantitative traits, such as normal distribution and familial correlation, and thus appeared ideal for quantitative trait locus (QTL) linkage analysis. By contrast, some families showed highly concordant and extreme values for three variables — lifetime minimum Body Mass Index (lowest BMI attained during the course of illness), concern over mistakes, and food-related obsessions — whereas others did not. These distributions are consistent with a mixture of populations, and thus the variables were matched with covariate linkage analysis. Linkage results appear in a subsequent report. Our report lays out a systematic roadmap for utilizing a rich set of phenotypes for genetic analyses, including the selection of linkage methods paired to those phenotypes.
doi:10.1002/ajmg.b.30227
PMCID: PMC2560991  PMID: 16152575
Complex disease; endophenotype; liability; clinical judgment; covariate selection; mixture model; regression
3.  Large-scale SNP analysis reveals clustered and continuous patterns of human genetic variation 
Human Genomics  2005;2(2):81-89.
Understanding the distribution of human genetic variation is an important foundation for research into the genetics of common diseases. Some of the alleles that modify common disease risk are themselves likely to be common and, thus, amenable to identification using gene-association methods. A problem with this approach is that the large sample sizes required for sufficient statistical power to detect alleles with moderate effect make gene-association studies susceptible to false-positive findings as the result of population stratification [1,2]. Such type I errors can be eliminated by using either family-based association tests or methods that sufficiently adjust for population stratification [3-5]. These methods require the availability of genetic markers that can detect and, thus, control for sources of genetic stratification among populations. In an effort to investigate population stratification and identify appropriate marker panels, we have analysed 11,555 single nucleotide polymorphisms in 203 individuals from 12 diverse human populations. Individuals in each population cluster to the exclusion of individuals from other populations using two clustering methods. Higher-order branching and clustering of the populations are consistent with the geographic origins of populations and with previously published genetic analyses. These data provide a valuable resource for the definition of marker panels to detect and control for population stratification in population-based gene identification studies. Using three US resident populations (European-American, African-American and Puerto Rican), we demonstrate how such studies can proceed, quantifying proportional ancestry levels and detecting significant admixture structure in each of these populations.
doi:10.1186/1479-7364-2-2-81
PMCID: PMC3525270  PMID: 16004724
population genetics; population genomics; human evolution; migration; admixture; population stratification
4.  The genomic distribution of population substructure in four populations using 8,525 autosomal SNPs 
Human Genomics  2004;1(4):274-286.
Understanding the nature of evolutionary relationships among persons and populations is important for the efficient application of genome science to biomedical research. We have analysed 8,525 autosomal single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in 84 individuals from four populations: African-American, European-American, Chinese and Japanese. Individual relationships were reconstructed using the allele sharing distance and the neighbour-joining tree making method. Trees show clear clustering according to population, with the root branching from the African-American clade. The African-American cluster is much less star-like than European-American and East Asian clusters, primarily because of admixture. Furthermore, on the East Asian branch, all ten Chinese individuals cluster together and all ten Japanese individuals cluster together. Using positional information, we demonstrate strong correlations between inter-marker distance and both locus-specific FST (the proportion of total variation due to differentiation) levels and branch lengths. Chromosomal maps of the distribution of locus-specific branch lengths were constructed by combining these data with other published SNP markers (total of 33,704 SNPs). These maps clearly illustrate a non-uniform distribution of human genetic substructure, an instructional and useful paradigm for education and research.
doi:10.1186/1479-7364-1-4-274
PMCID: PMC3525267  PMID: 15588487
population genomics; population genetics; microarray; genotyping; evolution; admixture

Results 1-4 (4)