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1.  Whole-exome sequencing is a powerful approach for establishing the etiological diagnosis in patients with intellectual disability and microcephaly 
Background
Clinical and genetic heterogeneity in monogenetic disorders represents a major diagnostic challenge. Although the presence of particular clinical features may aid in identifying a specific cause in some cases, the majority of patients remain undiagnosed.
Here, we investigated the utility of whole-exome sequencing as a diagnostic approach for establishing a molecular diagnosis in a highly heterogeneous group of patients with varied intellectual disability and microcephaly.
Methods
Whole-exome sequencing was performed in 38 patients, including three sib-pairs, in addition to or in parallel with genetic analyses that were performed during the diagnostic work-up of the study participants.
Results
In ten out of these 35 families (29 %), we found mutations in genes already known to be related to a disorder in which microcephaly is a main feature. Two unrelated patients had mutations in the ASPM gene. In seven other patients we found mutations in RAB3GAP1, RNASEH2B, KIF11, ERCC8, CASK, DYRK1A and BRCA2. In one of the sib-pairs, mutations were found in the RTTN gene. Mutations were present in seven out of our ten families with an established etiological diagnosis with recessive inheritance.
Conclusions
We demonstrate that whole-exome sequencing is a powerful tool for the diagnostic evaluation of patients with highly heterogeneous neurodevelopmental disorders such as intellectual disability with microcephaly. Our results confirm that autosomal recessive disorders are highly prevalent among patients with microcephaly.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12920-016-0167-8) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
doi:10.1186/s12920-016-0167-8
PMCID: PMC4743197  PMID: 26846091
Autosomal recessive inheritance; ASPM; BRCA2; CASK; DYRK1A; ERCC8; KIF11; Microcephaly; RAB3GAP1 RNASEH2B; RTTN; Whole-exome sequencing
2.  BiobankConnect: software to rapidly connect data elements for pooled analysis across biobanks using ontological and lexical indexing 
Objective Pooling data across biobanks is necessary to increase statistical power, reveal more subtle associations, and synergize the value of data sources. However, searching for desired data elements among the thousands of available elements and harmonizing differences in terminology, data collection, and structure, is arduous and time consuming.
Materials and methods To speed up biobank data pooling we developed BiobankConnect, a system to semi-automatically match desired data elements to available elements by: (1) annotating the desired elements with ontology terms using BioPortal; (2) automatically expanding the query for these elements with synonyms and subclass information using OntoCAT; (3) automatically searching available elements for these expanded terms using Lucene lexical matching; and (4) shortlisting relevant matches sorted by matching score.
Results We evaluated BiobankConnect using human curated matches from EU-BioSHaRE, searching for 32 desired data elements in 7461 available elements from six biobanks. We found 0.75 precision at rank 1 and 0.74 recall at rank 10 compared to a manually curated set of relevant matches. In addition, best matches chosen by BioSHaRE experts ranked first in 63.0% and in the top 10 in 98.4% of cases, indicating that our system has the potential to significantly reduce manual matching work.
Conclusions BiobankConnect provides an easy user interface to significantly speed up the biobank harmonization process. It may also prove useful for other forms of biomedical data integration. All the software can be downloaded as a MOLGENIS open source app from http://www.github.com/molgenis, with a demo available at http://www.biobankconnect.org.
doi:10.1136/amiajnl-2013-002577
PMCID: PMC4433361  PMID: 25361575
Biobank; Harmonization; Data integration; Search
3.  Genome-wide patterns and properties of de novo mutations in humans 
Nature genetics  2015;47(7):822-826.
Mutations create variation in the population, fuel evolution, and cause genetic diseases. Current knowledge about de novo mutations is incomplete and mostly indirect 1–10. Here, we analyze 11,020 de novo mutations from whole-genomes of 250 families. We show that de novo mutations in offspring of older fathers are not only more numerous 11–13 but also occur more frequently in early-replicating, genic regions. Functional regions exhibit higher mutation rates due to CpG dinucleotides and reveal signatures of transcription-coupled repair, while mutation clusters with a unique signature point to a novel mutational mechanism. Mutation and recombination rates independently associate with nucleotide diversity, and regional variation in human-chimpanzee divergence is only partly explained by mutation rate heterogeneity. Finally, we provide a genome-wide mutation rate map for medical and population genetics applications. Our results reveal novel insights and refine long-standing hypotheses about human mutagenesis.
doi:10.1038/ng.3292
PMCID: PMC4485564  PMID: 25985141
4.  PyPedia: using the wiki paradigm as crowd sourcing environment for bioinformatics protocols 
Background
Today researchers can choose from many bioinformatics protocols for all types of life sciences research, computational environments and coding languages. Although the majority of these are open source, few of them possess all virtues to maximize reuse and promote reproducible science. Wikipedia has proven a great tool to disseminate information and enhance collaboration between users with varying expertise and background to author qualitative content via crowdsourcing. However, it remains an open question whether the wiki paradigm can be applied to bioinformatics protocols.
Results
We piloted PyPedia, a wiki where each article is both implementation and documentation of a bioinformatics computational protocol in the python language. Hyperlinks within the wiki can be used to compose complex workflows and induce reuse. A RESTful API enables code execution outside the wiki. Initial content of PyPedia contains articles for population statistics, bioinformatics format conversions and genotype imputation. Use of the easy to learn wiki syntax effectively lowers the barriers to bring expert programmers and less computer savvy researchers on the same page.
Conclusions
PyPedia demonstrates how wiki can provide a collaborative development, sharing and even execution environment for biologists and bioinformaticians that complement existing resources, useful for local and multi-center research teams.
Availability
PyPedia is available online at: http://www.pypedia.com. The source code and installation instructions are available at: https://github.com/kantale/PyPedia_server. The PyPedia python library is available at: https://github.com/kantale/pypedia. PyPedia is open-source, available under the BSD 2-Clause License.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s13029-015-0042-6) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
doi:10.1186/s13029-015-0042-6
PMCID: PMC4652372  PMID: 26587054
Wiki; Web services; Open science; Crowdsourcing; Python
5.  SORTA: a system for ontology-based re-coding and technical annotation of biomedical phenotype data 
There is an urgent need to standardize the semantics of biomedical data values, such as phenotypes, to enable comparative and integrative analyses. However, it is unlikely that all studies will use the same data collection protocols. As a result, retrospective standardization is often required, which involves matching of original (unstructured or locally coded) data to widely used coding or ontology systems such as SNOMED CT (clinical terms), ICD-10 (International Classification of Disease) and HPO (Human Phenotype Ontology). This data curation process is usually a time-consuming process performed by a human expert. To help mechanize this process, we have developed SORTA, a computer-aided system for rapidly encoding free text or locally coded values to a formal coding system or ontology. SORTA matches original data values (uploaded in semicolon delimited format) to a target coding system (uploaded in Excel spreadsheet, OWL ontology web language or OBO open biomedical ontologies format). It then semi- automatically shortlists candidate codes for each data value using Lucene and n-gram based matching algorithms, and can also learn from matches chosen by human experts. We evaluated SORTA’s applicability in two use cases. For the LifeLines biobank, we used SORTA to recode 90 000 free text values (including 5211 unique values) about physical exercise to MET (Metabolic Equivalent of Task) codes. For the CINEAS clinical symptom coding system, we used SORTA to map to HPO, enriching HPO when necessary (315 terms matched so far). Out of the shortlists at rank 1, we found a precision/recall of 0.97/0.98 in LifeLines and of 0.58/0.45 in CINEAS. More importantly, users found the tool both a major time saver and a quality improvement because SORTA reduced the chances of human mistakes. Thus, SORTA can dramatically ease data (re)coding tasks and we believe it will prove useful for many more projects.
Database URL: http://molgenis.org/sorta or as an open source download from http://www.molgenis.org/wiki/SORTA
doi:10.1093/database/bav089
PMCID: PMC4574036  PMID: 26385205
6.  Cohort profile: LifeLines DEEP, a prospective, general population cohort study in the northern Netherlands: study design and baseline characteristics 
BMJ Open  2015;5(8):e006772.
Purpose
There is a critical need for population-based prospective cohort studies because they follow individuals before the onset of disease, allowing for studies that can identify biomarkers and disease-modifying effects, and thereby contributing to systems epidemiology.
Participants
This paper describes the design and baseline characteristics of an intensively examined subpopulation of the LifeLines cohort in the Netherlands. In this unique subcohort, LifeLines DEEP, we included 1539 participants aged 18 years and older.
Findings to date
We collected additional blood (n=1387), exhaled air (n=1425) and faecal samples (n=1248), and elicited responses to gastrointestinal health questionnaires (n=1176) for analysis of the genome, epigenome, transcriptome, microbiome, metabolome and other biological levels. Here, we provide an overview of the different data layers in LifeLines DEEP and present baseline characteristics of the study population including food intake and quality of life. We also describe how the LifeLines DEEP cohort allows for the detailed investigation of genetic, genomic and metabolic variation for a wide range of phenotypic outcomes. Finally, we examine the determinants of gastrointestinal health, an area of particular interest to us that can be addressed by LifeLines DEEP.
Future plans
We have established a cohort of which multiple data levels allow for the integrative analysis of populations for translation of this information into biomarkers for disease, and which will offer new insights into disease mechanisms and prevention.
doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2014-006772
PMCID: PMC4554905  PMID: 26319774
EPIDEMIOLOGY; PUBLIC HEALTH; GENETICS
7.  Molgenis-impute: imputation pipeline in a box 
BMC Research Notes  2015;8:359.
Background
Genotype imputation is an important procedure in current genomic analysis such as genome-wide association studies, meta-analyses and fine mapping. Although high quality tools are available that perform the steps of this process, considerable effort and expertise is required to set up and run a best practice imputation pipeline, particularly for larger genotype datasets, where imputation has to scale out in parallel on computer clusters.
Results
Here we present MOLGENIS-impute, an ‘imputation in a box’ solution that seamlessly and transparently automates the set up and running of all the steps of the imputation process. These steps include genome build liftover (liftovering), genotype phasing with SHAPEIT2, quality control, sample and chromosomal chunking/merging, and imputation with IMPUTE2. MOLGENIS-impute builds on MOLGENIS-compute, a simple pipeline management platform for submission and monitoring of bioinformatics tasks in High Performance Computing (HPC) environments like local/cloud servers, clusters and grids. All the required tools, data and scripts are downloaded and installed in a single step. Researchers with diverse backgrounds and expertise have tested MOLGENIS-impute on different locations and imputed over 30,000 samples so far using the 1,000 Genomes Project and new Genome of the Netherlands data as the imputation reference. The tests have been performed on PBS/SGE clusters, cloud VMs and in a grid HPC environment.
Conclusions
MOLGENIS-impute gives priority to the ease of setting up, configuring and running an imputation. It has minimal dependencies and wraps the pipeline in a simple command line interface, without sacrificing flexibility to adapt or limiting the options of underlying imputation tools. It does not require knowledge of a workflow system or programming, and is targeted at researchers who just want to apply best practices in imputation via simple commands. It is built on the MOLGENIS compute workflow framework to enable customization with additional computational steps or it can be included in other bioinformatics pipelines. It is available as open source from: https://github.com/molgenis/molgenis-imputation.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s13104-015-1309-3) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
doi:10.1186/s13104-015-1309-3
PMCID: PMC4541731  PMID: 26286716
Imputation; Genotyping; GWAS
8.  New genetic loci link adipose and insulin biology to body fat distribution 
Shungin, Dmitry | Winkler, Thomas W | Croteau-Chonka, Damien C | Ferreira, Teresa | Locke, Adam E | Mägi, Reedik | Strawbridge, Rona J | Pers, Tune H | Fischer, Krista | Justice, Anne E | Workalemahu, Tsegaselassie | Wu, Joseph M.W. | Buchkovich, Martin L | Heard-Costa, Nancy L | Roman, Tamara S | Drong, Alexander W | Song, Ci | Gustafsson, Stefan | Day, Felix R | Esko, Tonu | Fall, Tove | Kutalik, Zoltán | Luan, Jian’an | Randall, Joshua C | Scherag, André | Vedantam, Sailaja | Wood, Andrew R | Chen, Jin | Fehrmann, Rudolf | Karjalainen, Juha | Kahali, Bratati | Liu, Ching-Ti | Schmidt, Ellen M | Absher, Devin | Amin, Najaf | Anderson, Denise | Beekman, Marian | Bragg-Gresham, Jennifer L | Buyske, Steven | Demirkan, Ayse | Ehret, Georg B | Feitosa, Mary F | Goel, Anuj | Jackson, Anne U | Johnson, Toby | Kleber, Marcus E | Kristiansson, Kati | Mangino, Massimo | Leach, Irene Mateo | Medina-Gomez, Carolina | Palmer, Cameron D | Pasko, Dorota | Pechlivanis, Sonali | Peters, Marjolein J | Prokopenko, Inga | Stančáková, Alena | Sung, Yun Ju | Tanaka, Toshiko | Teumer, Alexander | Van Vliet-Ostaptchouk, Jana V | Yengo, Loïc | Zhang, Weihua | Albrecht, Eva | Ärnlöv, Johan | Arscott, Gillian M | Bandinelli, Stefania | Barrett, Amy | Bellis, Claire | Bennett, Amanda J | Berne, Christian | Blüher, Matthias | Böhringer, Stefan | Bonnet, Fabrice | Böttcher, Yvonne | Bruinenberg, Marcel | Carba, Delia B | Caspersen, Ida H | Clarke, Robert | Daw, E Warwick | Deelen, Joris | Deelman, Ewa | Delgado, Graciela | Doney, Alex SF | Eklund, Niina | Erdos, Michael R | Estrada, Karol | Eury, Elodie | Friedrich, Nele | Garcia, Melissa E | Giedraitis, Vilmantas | Gigante, Bruna | Go, Alan S | Golay, Alain | Grallert, Harald | Grammer, Tanja B | Gräßler, Jürgen | Grewal, Jagvir | Groves, Christopher J | Haller, Toomas | Hallmans, Goran | Hartman, Catharina A | Hassinen, Maija | Hayward, Caroline | Heikkilä, Kauko | Herzig, Karl-Heinz | Helmer, Quinta | Hillege, Hans L | Holmen, Oddgeir | Hunt, Steven C | Isaacs, Aaron | Ittermann, Till | James, Alan L | Johansson, Ingegerd | Juliusdottir, Thorhildur | Kalafati, Ioanna-Panagiota | Kinnunen, Leena | Koenig, Wolfgang | Kooner, Ishminder K | Kratzer, Wolfgang | Lamina, Claudia | Leander, Karin | Lee, Nanette R | Lichtner, Peter | Lind, Lars | Lindström, Jaana | Lobbens, Stéphane | Lorentzon, Mattias | Mach, François | Magnusson, Patrik KE | Mahajan, Anubha | McArdle, Wendy L | Menni, Cristina | Merger, Sigrun | Mihailov, Evelin | Milani, Lili | Mills, Rebecca | Moayyeri, Alireza | Monda, Keri L | Mooijaart, Simon P | Mühleisen, Thomas W | Mulas, Antonella | Müller, Gabriele | Müller-Nurasyid, Martina | Nagaraja, Ramaiah | Nalls, Michael A | Narisu, Narisu | Glorioso, Nicola | Nolte, Ilja M | Olden, Matthias | Rayner, Nigel W | Renstrom, Frida | Ried, Janina S | Robertson, Neil R | Rose, Lynda M | Sanna, Serena | Scharnagl, Hubert | Scholtens, Salome | Sennblad, Bengt | Seufferlein, Thomas | Sitlani, Colleen M | Smith, Albert Vernon | Stirrups, Kathleen | Stringham, Heather M | Sundström, Johan | Swertz, Morris A | Swift, Amy J | Syvänen, Ann-Christine | Tayo, Bamidele O | Thorand, Barbara | Thorleifsson, Gudmar | Tomaschitz, Andreas | Troffa, Chiara | van Oort, Floor VA | Verweij, Niek | Vonk, Judith M | Waite, Lindsay L | Wennauer, Roman | Wilsgaard, Tom | Wojczynski, Mary K | Wong, Andrew | Zhang, Qunyuan | Zhao, Jing Hua | Brennan, Eoin P. | Choi, Murim | Eriksson, Per | Folkersen, Lasse | Franco-Cereceda, Anders | Gharavi, Ali G | Hedman, Åsa K | Hivert, Marie-France | Huang, Jinyan | Kanoni, Stavroula | Karpe, Fredrik | Keildson, Sarah | Kiryluk, Krzysztof | Liang, Liming | Lifton, Richard P | Ma, Baoshan | McKnight, Amy J | McPherson, Ruth | Metspalu, Andres | Min, Josine L | Moffatt, Miriam F | Montgomery, Grant W | Murabito, Joanne M | Nicholson, George | Nyholt, Dale R | Olsson, Christian | Perry, John RB | Reinmaa, Eva | Salem, Rany M | Sandholm, Niina | Schadt, Eric E | Scott, Robert A | Stolk, Lisette | Vallejo, Edgar E. | Westra, Harm-Jan | Zondervan, Krina T | Amouyel, Philippe | Arveiler, Dominique | Bakker, Stephan JL | Beilby, John | Bergman, Richard N | Blangero, John | Brown, Morris J | Burnier, Michel | Campbell, Harry | Chakravarti, Aravinda | Chines, Peter S | Claudi-Boehm, Simone | Collins, Francis S | Crawford, Dana C | Danesh, John | de Faire, Ulf | de Geus, Eco JC | Dörr, Marcus | Erbel, Raimund | Eriksson, Johan G | Farrall, Martin | Ferrannini, Ele | Ferrières, Jean | Forouhi, Nita G | Forrester, Terrence | Franco, Oscar H | Gansevoort, Ron T | Gieger, Christian | Gudnason, Vilmundur | Haiman, Christopher A | Harris, Tamara B | Hattersley, Andrew T | Heliövaara, Markku | Hicks, Andrew A | Hingorani, Aroon D | Hoffmann, Wolfgang | Hofman, Albert | Homuth, Georg | Humphries, Steve E | Hyppönen, Elina | Illig, Thomas | Jarvelin, Marjo-Riitta | Johansen, Berit | Jousilahti, Pekka | Jula, Antti M | Kaprio, Jaakko | Kee, Frank | Keinanen-Kiukaanniemi, Sirkka M | Kooner, Jaspal S | Kooperberg, Charles | Kovacs, Peter | Kraja, Aldi T | Kumari, Meena | Kuulasmaa, Kari | Kuusisto, Johanna | Lakka, Timo A | Langenberg, Claudia | Le Marchand, Loic | Lehtimäki, Terho | Lyssenko, Valeriya | Männistö, Satu | Marette, André | Matise, Tara C | McKenzie, Colin A | McKnight, Barbara | Musk, Arthur W | Möhlenkamp, Stefan | Morris, Andrew D | Nelis, Mari | Ohlsson, Claes | Oldehinkel, Albertine J | Ong, Ken K | Palmer, Lyle J | Penninx, Brenda W | Peters, Annette | Pramstaller, Peter P | Raitakari, Olli T | Rankinen, Tuomo | Rao, DC | Rice, Treva K | Ridker, Paul M | Ritchie, Marylyn D. | Rudan, Igor | Salomaa, Veikko | Samani, Nilesh J | Saramies, Jouko | Sarzynski, Mark A | Schwarz, Peter EH | Shuldiner, Alan R | Staessen, Jan A | Steinthorsdottir, Valgerdur | Stolk, Ronald P | Strauch, Konstantin | Tönjes, Anke | Tremblay, Angelo | Tremoli, Elena | Vohl, Marie-Claude | Völker, Uwe | Vollenweider, Peter | Wilson, James F | Witteman, Jacqueline C | Adair, Linda S | Bochud, Murielle | Boehm, Bernhard O | Bornstein, Stefan R | Bouchard, Claude | Cauchi, Stéphane | Caulfield, Mark J | Chambers, John C | Chasman, Daniel I | Cooper, Richard S | Dedoussis, George | Ferrucci, Luigi | Froguel, Philippe | Grabe, Hans-Jörgen | Hamsten, Anders | Hui, Jennie | Hveem, Kristian | Jöckel, Karl-Heinz | Kivimaki, Mika | Kuh, Diana | Laakso, Markku | Liu, Yongmei | März, Winfried | Munroe, Patricia B | Njølstad, Inger | Oostra, Ben A | Palmer, Colin NA | Pedersen, Nancy L | Perola, Markus | Pérusse, Louis | Peters, Ulrike | Power, Chris | Quertermous, Thomas | Rauramaa, Rainer | Rivadeneira, Fernando | Saaristo, Timo E | Saleheen, Danish | Sinisalo, Juha | Slagboom, P Eline | Snieder, Harold | Spector, Tim D | Stefansson, Kari | Stumvoll, Michael | Tuomilehto, Jaakko | Uitterlinden, André G | Uusitupa, Matti | van der Harst, Pim | Veronesi, Giovanni | Walker, Mark | Wareham, Nicholas J | Watkins, Hugh | Wichmann, H-Erich | Abecasis, Goncalo R | Assimes, Themistocles L | Berndt, Sonja I | Boehnke, Michael | Borecki, Ingrid B | Deloukas, Panos | Franke, Lude | Frayling, Timothy M | Groop, Leif C | Hunter, David J. | Kaplan, Robert C | O’Connell, Jeffrey R | Qi, Lu | Schlessinger, David | Strachan, David P | Thorsteinsdottir, Unnur | van Duijn, Cornelia M | Willer, Cristen J | Visscher, Peter M | Yang, Jian | Hirschhorn, Joel N | Zillikens, M Carola | McCarthy, Mark I | Speliotes, Elizabeth K | North, Kari E | Fox, Caroline S | Barroso, Inês | Franks, Paul W | Ingelsson, Erik | Heid, Iris M | Loos, Ruth JF | Cupples, L Adrienne | Morris, Andrew P | Lindgren, Cecilia M | Mohlke, Karen L
Nature  2015;518(7538):187-196.
Body fat distribution is a heritable trait and a well-established predictor of adverse metabolic outcomes, independent of overall adiposity. To increase our understanding of the genetic basis of body fat distribution and its molecular links to cardiometabolic traits, we conducted genome-wide association meta-analyses of waist and hip circumference-related traits in up to 224,459 individuals. We identified 49 loci (33 new) associated with waist-to-hip ratio adjusted for body mass index (WHRadjBMI) and an additional 19 loci newly associated with related waist and hip circumference measures (P<5×10−8). Twenty of the 49 WHRadjBMI loci showed significant sexual dimorphism, 19 of which displayed a stronger effect in women. The identified loci were enriched for genes expressed in adipose tissue and for putative regulatory elements in adipocytes. Pathway analyses implicated adipogenesis, angiogenesis, transcriptional regulation, and insulin resistance as processes affecting fat distribution, providing insight into potential pathophysiological mechanisms.
doi:10.1038/nature14132
PMCID: PMC4338562  PMID: 25673412
9.  Estimation of Genetic Relationships Between Individuals Across Cohorts and Platforms: Application to Childhood Height 
Behavior Genetics  2015;45(5):514-528.
Combining genotype data across cohorts increases power to estimate the heritability due to common single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), based on analyzing a Genetic Relationship Matrix (GRM). However, the combination of SNP data across multiple cohorts may lead to stratification, when for example, different genotyping platforms are used. In the current study, we address issues of combining SNP data from different cohorts, the Netherlands Twin Register (NTR) and the Generation R (GENR) study. Both cohorts include children of Northern European Dutch background (N = 3102 + 2826, respectively) who were genotyped on different platforms. We explore imputation and phasing as a tool and compare three GRM-building strategies, when data from two cohorts are (1) just combined, (2) pre-combined and cross-platform imputed and (3) cross-platform imputed and post-combined. We test these three strategies with data on childhood height for unrelated individuals (N = 3124, average age 6.7 years) to explore their effect on SNP-heritability estimates and compare results to those obtained from the independent studies. All combination strategies result in SNP-heritability estimates with a standard error smaller than those of the independent studies. We did not observe significant difference in estimates of SNP-heritability based on various cross-platform imputed GRMs. SNP-heritability of childhood height was on average estimated as 0.50 (SE = 0.10). Introducing cohort as a covariate resulted in ≈2 % drop. Principal components (PCs) adjustment resulted in SNP-heritability estimates of about 0.39 (SE = 0.11). Strikingly, we did not find significant difference between cross-platform imputed and combined GRMs. All estimates were significant regardless the use of PCs adjustment. Based on these analyses we conclude that imputation with a reference set helps to increase power to estimate SNP-heritability by combining cohorts of the same ethnicity genotyped on different platforms. However, important factors should be taken into account such as remaining cohort stratification after imputation and/or phenotypic heterogeneity between and within cohorts. Whether one should use imputation, or just combine the genotype data, depends on the number of overlapping SNPs in relation to the total number of genotyped SNPs for both cohorts, and their ability to tag all the genetic variance related to the specific trait of interest.
doi:10.1007/s10519-015-9725-7
PMCID: PMC4561077  PMID: 26036992
Genotyping platform; Heterogeneity; Imputation; GCTA; SNP-heritability; Height
10.  The Hybrid Synthetic Microdata Platform: A Method for Statistical Disclosure Control 
Biopreservation and Biobanking  2015;13(3):178-182.
Owners of biobanks are in an unfortunate position: on the one hand, they need to protect the privacy of their participants, whereas on the other, their usefulness relies on the disclosure of the data they hold. Existing methods for Statistical Disclosure Control attempt to find a balance between utility and confidentiality, but come at a cost for the analysts of the data. We outline an alternative perspective to the balance between confidentiality and utility. By combining the generation of synthetic data with the automated execution of data analyses, biobank owners can guarantee the privacy of their participants, yet allow the analysts to work in an unrestricted manner.
doi:10.1089/bio.2014.0069
PMCID: PMC4559158  PMID: 26035007
12.  MOLGENIS catalogue 
doi:10.1186/2043-9113-5-S1-S8
PMCID: PMC4460587
13.  Defining the role of common variation in the genomic and biological architecture of adult human height 
Wood, Andrew R | Esko, Tonu | Yang, Jian | Vedantam, Sailaja | Pers, Tune H | Gustafsson, Stefan | Chu, Audrey Y | Estrada, Karol | Luan, Jian’an | Kutalik, Zoltán | Amin, Najaf | Buchkovich, Martin L | Croteau-Chonka, Damien C | Day, Felix R | Duan, Yanan | Fall, Tove | Fehrmann, Rudolf | Ferreira, Teresa | Jackson, Anne U | Karjalainen, Juha | Lo, Ken Sin | Locke, Adam E | Mägi, Reedik | Mihailov, Evelin | Porcu, Eleonora | Randall, Joshua C | Scherag, André | Vinkhuyzen, Anna AE | Westra, Harm-Jan | Winkler, Thomas W | Workalemahu, Tsegaselassie | Zhao, Jing Hua | Absher, Devin | Albrecht, Eva | Anderson, Denise | Baron, Jeffrey | Beekman, Marian | Demirkan, Ayse | Ehret, Georg B | Feenstra, Bjarke | Feitosa, Mary F | Fischer, Krista | Fraser, Ross M | Goel, Anuj | Gong, Jian | Justice, Anne E | Kanoni, Stavroula | Kleber, Marcus E | Kristiansson, Kati | Lim, Unhee | Lotay, Vaneet | Lui, Julian C | Mangino, Massimo | Leach, Irene Mateo | Medina-Gomez, Carolina | Nalls, Michael A | Nyholt, Dale R | Palmer, Cameron D | Pasko, Dorota | Pechlivanis, Sonali | Prokopenko, Inga | Ried, Janina S | Ripke, Stephan | Shungin, Dmitry | Stancáková, Alena | Strawbridge, Rona J | Sung, Yun Ju | Tanaka, Toshiko | Teumer, Alexander | Trompet, Stella | van der Laan, Sander W | van Setten, Jessica | Van Vliet-Ostaptchouk, Jana V | Wang, Zhaoming | Yengo, Loïc | Zhang, Weihua | Afzal, Uzma | Ärnlöv, Johan | Arscott, Gillian M | Bandinelli, Stefania | Barrett, Amy | Bellis, Claire | Bennett, Amanda J | Berne, Christian | Blüher, Matthias | Bolton, Jennifer L | Böttcher, Yvonne | Boyd, Heather A | Bruinenberg, Marcel | Buckley, Brendan M | Buyske, Steven | Caspersen, Ida H | Chines, Peter S | Clarke, Robert | Claudi-Boehm, Simone | Cooper, Matthew | Daw, E Warwick | De Jong, Pim A | Deelen, Joris | Delgado, Graciela | Denny, Josh C | Dhonukshe-Rutten, Rosalie | Dimitriou, Maria | Doney, Alex SF | Dörr, Marcus | Eklund, Niina | Eury, Elodie | Folkersen, Lasse | Garcia, Melissa E | Geller, Frank | Giedraitis, Vilmantas | Go, Alan S | Grallert, Harald | Grammer, Tanja B | Gräßler, Jürgen | Grönberg, Henrik | de Groot, Lisette C.P.G.M. | Groves, Christopher J | Haessler, Jeffrey | Hall, Per | Haller, Toomas | Hallmans, Goran | Hannemann, Anke | Hartman, Catharina A | Hassinen, Maija | Hayward, Caroline | Heard-Costa, Nancy L | Helmer, Quinta | Hemani, Gibran | Henders, Anjali K | Hillege, Hans L | Hlatky, Mark A | Hoffmann, Wolfgang | Hoffmann, Per | Holmen, Oddgeir | Houwing-Duistermaat, Jeanine J | Illig, Thomas | Isaacs, Aaron | James, Alan L | Jeff, Janina | Johansen, Berit | Johansson, Åsa | Jolley, Jennifer | Juliusdottir, Thorhildur | Junttila, Juhani | Kho, Abel N | Kinnunen, Leena | Klopp, Norman | Kocher, Thomas | Kratzer, Wolfgang | Lichtner, Peter | Lind, Lars | Lindström, Jaana | Lobbens, Stéphane | Lorentzon, Mattias | Lu, Yingchang | Lyssenko, Valeriya | Magnusson, Patrik KE | Mahajan, Anubha | Maillard, Marc | McArdle, Wendy L | McKenzie, Colin A | McLachlan, Stela | McLaren, Paul J | Menni, Cristina | Merger, Sigrun | Milani, Lili | Moayyeri, Alireza | Monda, Keri L | Morken, Mario A | Müller, Gabriele | Müller-Nurasyid, Martina | Musk, Arthur W | Narisu, Narisu | Nauck, Matthias | Nolte, Ilja M | Nöthen, Markus M | Oozageer, Laticia | Pilz, Stefan | Rayner, Nigel W | Renstrom, Frida | Robertson, Neil R | Rose, Lynda M | Roussel, Ronan | Sanna, Serena | Scharnagl, Hubert | Scholtens, Salome | Schumacher, Fredrick R | Schunkert, Heribert | Scott, Robert A | Sehmi, Joban | Seufferlein, Thomas | Shi, Jianxin | Silventoinen, Karri | Smit, Johannes H | Smith, Albert Vernon | Smolonska, Joanna | Stanton, Alice V | Stirrups, Kathleen | Stott, David J | Stringham, Heather M | Sundström, Johan | Swertz, Morris A | Syvänen, Ann-Christine | Tayo, Bamidele O | Thorleifsson, Gudmar | Tyrer, Jonathan P | van Dijk, Suzanne | van Schoor, Natasja M | van der Velde, Nathalie | van Heemst, Diana | van Oort, Floor VA | Vermeulen, Sita H | Verweij, Niek | Vonk, Judith M | Waite, Lindsay L | Waldenberger, Melanie | Wennauer, Roman | Wilkens, Lynne R | Willenborg, Christina | Wilsgaard, Tom | Wojczynski, Mary K | Wong, Andrew | Wright, Alan F | Zhang, Qunyuan | Arveiler, Dominique | Bakker, Stephan JL | Beilby, John | Bergman, Richard N | Bergmann, Sven | Biffar, Reiner | Blangero, John | Boomsma, Dorret I | Bornstein, Stefan R | Bovet, Pascal | Brambilla, Paolo | Brown, Morris J | Campbell, Harry | Caulfield, Mark J | Chakravarti, Aravinda | Collins, Rory | Collins, Francis S | Crawford, Dana C | Cupples, L Adrienne | Danesh, John | de Faire, Ulf | den Ruijter, Hester M | Erbel, Raimund | Erdmann, Jeanette | Eriksson, Johan G | Farrall, Martin | Ferrannini, Ele | Ferrières, Jean | Ford, Ian | Forouhi, Nita G | Forrester, Terrence | Gansevoort, Ron T | Gejman, Pablo V | Gieger, Christian | Golay, Alain | Gottesman, Omri | Gudnason, Vilmundur | Gyllensten, Ulf | Haas, David W | Hall, Alistair S | Harris, Tamara B | Hattersley, Andrew T | Heath, Andrew C | Hengstenberg, Christian | Hicks, Andrew A | Hindorff, Lucia A | Hingorani, Aroon D | Hofman, Albert | Hovingh, G Kees | Humphries, Steve E | Hunt, Steven C | Hypponen, Elina | Jacobs, Kevin B | Jarvelin, Marjo-Riitta | Jousilahti, Pekka | Jula, Antti M | Kaprio, Jaakko | Kastelein, John JP | Kayser, Manfred | Kee, Frank | Keinanen-Kiukaanniemi, Sirkka M | Kiemeney, Lambertus A | Kooner, Jaspal S | Kooperberg, Charles | Koskinen, Seppo | Kovacs, Peter | Kraja, Aldi T | Kumari, Meena | Kuusisto, Johanna | Lakka, Timo A | Langenberg, Claudia | Le Marchand, Loic | Lehtimäki, Terho | Lupoli, Sara | Madden, Pamela AF | Männistö, Satu | Manunta, Paolo | Marette, André | Matise, Tara C | McKnight, Barbara | Meitinger, Thomas | Moll, Frans L | Montgomery, Grant W | Morris, Andrew D | Morris, Andrew P | Murray, Jeffrey C | Nelis, Mari | Ohlsson, Claes | Oldehinkel, Albertine J | Ong, Ken K | Ouwehand, Willem H | Pasterkamp, Gerard | Peters, Annette | Pramstaller, Peter P | Price, Jackie F | Qi, Lu | Raitakari, Olli T | Rankinen, Tuomo | Rao, DC | Rice, Treva K | Ritchie, Marylyn | Rudan, Igor | Salomaa, Veikko | Samani, Nilesh J | Saramies, Jouko | Sarzynski, Mark A | Schwarz, Peter EH | Sebert, Sylvain | Sever, Peter | Shuldiner, Alan R | Sinisalo, Juha | Steinthorsdottir, Valgerdur | Stolk, Ronald P | Tardif, Jean-Claude | Tönjes, Anke | Tremblay, Angelo | Tremoli, Elena | Virtamo, Jarmo | Vohl, Marie-Claude | Amouyel, Philippe | Asselbergs, Folkert W | Assimes, Themistocles L | Bochud, Murielle | Boehm, Bernhard O | Boerwinkle, Eric | Bottinger, Erwin P | Bouchard, Claude | Cauchi, Stéphane | Chambers, John C | Chanock, Stephen J | Cooper, Richard S | de Bakker, Paul IW | Dedoussis, George | Ferrucci, Luigi | Franks, Paul W | Froguel, Philippe | Groop, Leif C | Haiman, Christopher A | Hamsten, Anders | Hayes, M Geoffrey | Hui, Jennie | Hunter, David J. | Hveem, Kristian | Jukema, J Wouter | Kaplan, Robert C | Kivimaki, Mika | Kuh, Diana | Laakso, Markku | Liu, Yongmei | Martin, Nicholas G | März, Winfried | Melbye, Mads | Moebus, Susanne | Munroe, Patricia B | Njølstad, Inger | Oostra, Ben A | Palmer, Colin NA | Pedersen, Nancy L | Perola, Markus | Pérusse, Louis | Peters, Ulrike | Powell, Joseph E | Power, Chris | Quertermous, Thomas | Rauramaa, Rainer | Reinmaa, Eva | Ridker, Paul M | Rivadeneira, Fernando | Rotter, Jerome I | Saaristo, Timo E | Saleheen, Danish | Schlessinger, David | Slagboom, P Eline | Snieder, Harold | Spector, Tim D | Strauch, Konstantin | Stumvoll, Michael | Tuomilehto, Jaakko | Uusitupa, Matti | van der Harst, Pim | Völzke, Henry | Walker, Mark | Wareham, Nicholas J | Watkins, Hugh | Wichmann, H-Erich | Wilson, James F | Zanen, Pieter | Deloukas, Panos | Heid, Iris M | Lindgren, Cecilia M | Mohlke, Karen L | Speliotes, Elizabeth K | Thorsteinsdottir, Unnur | Barroso, Inês | Fox, Caroline S | North, Kari E | Strachan, David P | Beckmann, Jacques S. | Berndt, Sonja I | Boehnke, Michael | Borecki, Ingrid B | McCarthy, Mark I | Metspalu, Andres | Stefansson, Kari | Uitterlinden, André G | van Duijn, Cornelia M | Franke, Lude | Willer, Cristen J | Price, Alkes L. | Lettre, Guillaume | Loos, Ruth JF | Weedon, Michael N | Ingelsson, Erik | O’Connell, Jeffrey R | Abecasis, Goncalo R | Chasman, Daniel I | Goddard, Michael E | Visscher, Peter M | Hirschhorn, Joel N | Frayling, Timothy M
Nature genetics  2014;46(11):1173-1186.
Using genome-wide data from 253,288 individuals, we identified 697 variants at genome-wide significance that together explain one-fifth of heritability for adult height. By testing different numbers of variants in independent studies, we show that the most strongly associated ~2,000, ~3,700 and ~9,500 SNPs explained ~21%, ~24% and ~29% of phenotypic variance. Furthermore, all common variants together captured the majority (60%) of heritability. The 697 variants clustered in 423 loci enriched for genes, pathways, and tissue-types known to be involved in growth and together implicated genes and pathways not highlighted in earlier efforts, such as signaling by fibroblast growth factors, WNT/beta-catenin, and chondroitin sulfate-related genes. We identified several genes and pathways not previously connected with human skeletal growth, including mTOR, osteoglycin and binding of hyaluronic acid. Our results indicate a genetic architecture for human height that is characterized by a very large but finite number (thousands) of causal variants.
doi:10.1038/ng.3097
PMCID: PMC4250049  PMID: 25282103
14.  Defining the role of common variation in the genomic and biological architecture of adult human height 
Wood, Andrew R | Esko, Tonu | Yang, Jian | Vedantam, Sailaja | Pers, Tune H | Gustafsson, Stefan | Chu, Audrey Y | Estrada, Karol | Luan, Jian’an | Kutalik, Zoltán | Amin, Najaf | Buchkovich, Martin L | Croteau-Chonka, Damien C | Day, Felix R | Duan, Yanan | Fall, Tove | Fehrmann, Rudolf | Ferreira, Teresa | Jackson, Anne U | Karjalainen, Juha | Lo, Ken Sin | Locke, Adam E | Mägi, Reedik | Mihailov, Evelin | Porcu, Eleonora | Randall, Joshua C | Scherag, André | Vinkhuyzen, Anna AE | Westra, Harm-Jan | Winkler, Thomas W | Workalemahu, Tsegaselassie | Zhao, Jing Hua | Absher, Devin | Albrecht, Eva | Anderson, Denise | Baron, Jeffrey | Beekman, Marian | Demirkan, Ayse | Ehret, Georg B | Feenstra, Bjarke | Feitosa, Mary F | Fischer, Krista | Fraser, Ross M | Goel, Anuj | Gong, Jian | Justice, Anne E | Kanoni, Stavroula | Kleber, Marcus E | Kristiansson, Kati | Lim, Unhee | Lotay, Vaneet | Lui, Julian C | Mangino, Massimo | Leach, Irene Mateo | Medina-Gomez, Carolina | Nalls, Michael A | Nyholt, Dale R | Palmer, Cameron D | Pasko, Dorota | Pechlivanis, Sonali | Prokopenko, Inga | Ried, Janina S | Ripke, Stephan | Shungin, Dmitry | Stancáková, Alena | Strawbridge, Rona J | Sung, Yun Ju | Tanaka, Toshiko | Teumer, Alexander | Trompet, Stella | van der Laan, Sander W | van Setten, Jessica | Van Vliet-Ostaptchouk, Jana V | Wang, Zhaoming | Yengo, Loïc | Zhang, Weihua | Afzal, Uzma | Ärnlöv, Johan | Arscott, Gillian M | Bandinelli, Stefania | Barrett, Amy | Bellis, Claire | Bennett, Amanda J | Berne, Christian | Blüher, Matthias | Bolton, Jennifer L | Böttcher, Yvonne | Boyd, Heather A | Bruinenberg, Marcel | Buckley, Brendan M | Buyske, Steven | Caspersen, Ida H | Chines, Peter S | Clarke, Robert | Claudi-Boehm, Simone | Cooper, Matthew | Daw, E Warwick | De Jong, Pim A | Deelen, Joris | Delgado, Graciela | Denny, Josh C | Dhonukshe-Rutten, Rosalie | Dimitriou, Maria | Doney, Alex SF | Dörr, Marcus | Eklund, Niina | Eury, Elodie | Folkersen, Lasse | Garcia, Melissa E | Geller, Frank | Giedraitis, Vilmantas | Go, Alan S | Grallert, Harald | Grammer, Tanja B | Gräßler, Jürgen | Grönberg, Henrik | de Groot, Lisette C.P.G.M. | Groves, Christopher J | Haessler, Jeffrey | Hall, Per | Haller, Toomas | Hallmans, Goran | Hannemann, Anke | Hartman, Catharina A | Hassinen, Maija | Hayward, Caroline | Heard-Costa, Nancy L | Helmer, Quinta | Hemani, Gibran | Henders, Anjali K | Hillege, Hans L | Hlatky, Mark A | Hoffmann, Wolfgang | Hoffmann, Per | Holmen, Oddgeir | Houwing-Duistermaat, Jeanine J | Illig, Thomas | Isaacs, Aaron | James, Alan L | Jeff, Janina | Johansen, Berit | Johansson, Åsa | Jolley, Jennifer | Juliusdottir, Thorhildur | Junttila, Juhani | Kho, Abel N | Kinnunen, Leena | Klopp, Norman | Kocher, Thomas | Kratzer, Wolfgang | Lichtner, Peter | Lind, Lars | Lindström, Jaana | Lobbens, Stéphane | Lorentzon, Mattias | Lu, Yingchang | Lyssenko, Valeriya | Magnusson, Patrik KE | Mahajan, Anubha | Maillard, Marc | McArdle, Wendy L | McKenzie, Colin A | McLachlan, Stela | McLaren, Paul J | Menni, Cristina | Merger, Sigrun | Milani, Lili | Moayyeri, Alireza | Monda, Keri L | Morken, Mario A | Müller, Gabriele | Müller-Nurasyid, Martina | Musk, Arthur W | Narisu, Narisu | Nauck, Matthias | Nolte, Ilja M | Nöthen, Markus M | Oozageer, Laticia | Pilz, Stefan | Rayner, Nigel W | Renstrom, Frida | Robertson, Neil R | Rose, Lynda M | Roussel, Ronan | Sanna, Serena | Scharnagl, Hubert | Scholtens, Salome | Schumacher, Fredrick R | Schunkert, Heribert | Scott, Robert A | Sehmi, Joban | Seufferlein, Thomas | Shi, Jianxin | Silventoinen, Karri | Smit, Johannes H | Smith, Albert Vernon | Smolonska, Joanna | Stanton, Alice V | Stirrups, Kathleen | Stott, David J | Stringham, Heather M | Sundström, Johan | Swertz, Morris A | Syvänen, Ann-Christine | Tayo, Bamidele O | Thorleifsson, Gudmar | Tyrer, Jonathan P | van Dijk, Suzanne | van Schoor, Natasja M | van der Velde, Nathalie | van Heemst, Diana | van Oort, Floor VA | Vermeulen, Sita H | Verweij, Niek | Vonk, Judith M | Waite, Lindsay L | Waldenberger, Melanie | Wennauer, Roman | Wilkens, Lynne R | Willenborg, Christina | Wilsgaard, Tom | Wojczynski, Mary K | Wong, Andrew | Wright, Alan F | Zhang, Qunyuan | Arveiler, Dominique | Bakker, Stephan JL | Beilby, John | Bergman, Richard N | Bergmann, Sven | Biffar, Reiner | Blangero, John | Boomsma, Dorret I | Bornstein, Stefan R | Bovet, Pascal | Brambilla, Paolo | Brown, Morris J | Campbell, Harry | Caulfield, Mark J | Chakravarti, Aravinda | Collins, Rory | Collins, Francis S | Crawford, Dana C | Cupples, L Adrienne | Danesh, John | de Faire, Ulf | den Ruijter, Hester M | Erbel, Raimund | Erdmann, Jeanette | Eriksson, Johan G | Farrall, Martin | Ferrannini, Ele | Ferrières, Jean | Ford, Ian | Forouhi, Nita G | Forrester, Terrence | Gansevoort, Ron T | Gejman, Pablo V | Gieger, Christian | Golay, Alain | Gottesman, Omri | Gudnason, Vilmundur | Gyllensten, Ulf | Haas, David W | Hall, Alistair S | Harris, Tamara B | Hattersley, Andrew T | Heath, Andrew C | Hengstenberg, Christian | Hicks, Andrew A | Hindorff, Lucia A | Hingorani, Aroon D | Hofman, Albert | Hovingh, G Kees | Humphries, Steve E | Hunt, Steven C | Hypponen, Elina | Jacobs, Kevin B | Jarvelin, Marjo-Riitta | Jousilahti, Pekka | Jula, Antti M | Kaprio, Jaakko | Kastelein, John JP | Kayser, Manfred | Kee, Frank | Keinanen-Kiukaanniemi, Sirkka M | Kiemeney, Lambertus A | Kooner, Jaspal S | Kooperberg, Charles | Koskinen, Seppo | Kovacs, Peter | Kraja, Aldi T | Kumari, Meena | Kuusisto, Johanna | Lakka, Timo A | Langenberg, Claudia | Le Marchand, Loic | Lehtimäki, Terho | Lupoli, Sara | Madden, Pamela AF | Männistö, Satu | Manunta, Paolo | Marette, André | Matise, Tara C | McKnight, Barbara | Meitinger, Thomas | Moll, Frans L | Montgomery, Grant W | Morris, Andrew D | Morris, Andrew P | Murray, Jeffrey C | Nelis, Mari | Ohlsson, Claes | Oldehinkel, Albertine J | Ong, Ken K | Ouwehand, Willem H | Pasterkamp, Gerard | Peters, Annette | Pramstaller, Peter P | Price, Jackie F | Qi, Lu | Raitakari, Olli T | Rankinen, Tuomo | Rao, DC | Rice, Treva K | Ritchie, Marylyn | Rudan, Igor | Salomaa, Veikko | Samani, Nilesh J | Saramies, Jouko | Sarzynski, Mark A | Schwarz, Peter EH | Sebert, Sylvain | Sever, Peter | Shuldiner, Alan R | Sinisalo, Juha | Steinthorsdottir, Valgerdur | Stolk, Ronald P | Tardif, Jean-Claude | Tönjes, Anke | Tremblay, Angelo | Tremoli, Elena | Virtamo, Jarmo | Vohl, Marie-Claude | Amouyel, Philippe | Asselbergs, Folkert W | Assimes, Themistocles L | Bochud, Murielle | Boehm, Bernhard O | Boerwinkle, Eric | Bottinger, Erwin P | Bouchard, Claude | Cauchi, Stéphane | Chambers, John C | Chanock, Stephen J | Cooper, Richard S | de Bakker, Paul IW | Dedoussis, George | Ferrucci, Luigi | Franks, Paul W | Froguel, Philippe | Groop, Leif C | Haiman, Christopher A | Hamsten, Anders | Hayes, M Geoffrey | Hui, Jennie | Hunter, David J. | Hveem, Kristian | Jukema, J Wouter | Kaplan, Robert C | Kivimaki, Mika | Kuh, Diana | Laakso, Markku | Liu, Yongmei | Martin, Nicholas G | März, Winfried | Melbye, Mads | Moebus, Susanne | Munroe, Patricia B | Njølstad, Inger | Oostra, Ben A | Palmer, Colin NA | Pedersen, Nancy L | Perola, Markus | Pérusse, Louis | Peters, Ulrike | Powell, Joseph E | Power, Chris | Quertermous, Thomas | Rauramaa, Rainer | Reinmaa, Eva | Ridker, Paul M | Rivadeneira, Fernando | Rotter, Jerome I | Saaristo, Timo E | Saleheen, Danish | Schlessinger, David | Slagboom, P Eline | Snieder, Harold | Spector, Tim D | Strauch, Konstantin | Stumvoll, Michael | Tuomilehto, Jaakko | Uusitupa, Matti | van der Harst, Pim | Völzke, Henry | Walker, Mark | Wareham, Nicholas J | Watkins, Hugh | Wichmann, H-Erich | Wilson, James F | Zanen, Pieter | Deloukas, Panos | Heid, Iris M | Lindgren, Cecilia M | Mohlke, Karen L | Speliotes, Elizabeth K | Thorsteinsdottir, Unnur | Barroso, Inês | Fox, Caroline S | North, Kari E | Strachan, David P | Beckmann, Jacques S. | Berndt, Sonja I | Boehnke, Michael | Borecki, Ingrid B | McCarthy, Mark I | Metspalu, Andres | Stefansson, Kari | Uitterlinden, André G | van Duijn, Cornelia M | Franke, Lude | Willer, Cristen J | Price, Alkes L. | Lettre, Guillaume | Loos, Ruth JF | Weedon, Michael N | Ingelsson, Erik | O’Connell, Jeffrey R | Abecasis, Goncalo R | Chasman, Daniel I | Goddard, Michael E | Visscher, Peter M | Hirschhorn, Joel N | Frayling, Timothy M
Nature genetics  2014;46(11):1173-1186.
Using genome-wide data from 253,288 individuals, we identified 697 variants at genome-wide significance that together explain one-fifth of heritability for adult height. By testing different numbers of variants in independent studies, we show that the most strongly associated ~2,000, ~3,700 and ~9,500 SNPs explained ~21%, ~24% and ~29% of phenotypic variance. Furthermore, all common variants together captured the majority (60%) of heritability. The 697 variants clustered in 423 loci enriched for genes, pathways, and tissue-types known to be involved in growth and together implicated genes and pathways not highlighted in earlier efforts, such as signaling by fibroblast growth factors, WNT/beta-catenin, and chondroitin sulfate-related genes. We identified several genes and pathways not previously connected with human skeletal growth, including mTOR, osteoglycin and binding of hyaluronic acid. Our results indicate a genetic architecture for human height that is characterized by a very large but finite number (thousands) of causal variants.
doi:10.1038/ng.3097
PMCID: PMC4250049  PMID: 25282103
15.  Genetic studies of body mass index yield new insights for obesity biology 
Locke, Adam E. | Kahali, Bratati | Berndt, Sonja I. | Justice, Anne E. | Pers, Tune H. | Day, Felix R. | Powell, Corey | Vedantam, Sailaja | Buchkovich, Martin L. | Yang, Jian | Croteau-Chonka, Damien C. | Esko, Tonu | Fall, Tove | Ferreira, Teresa | Gustafsson, Stefan | Kutalik, Zoltán | Luan, Jian’an | Mägi, Reedik | Randall, Joshua C. | Winkler, Thomas W. | Wood, Andrew R. | Workalemahu, Tsegaselassie | Faul, Jessica D. | Smith, Jennifer A. | Zhao, Jing Hua | Zhao, Wei | Chen, Jin | Fehrmann, Rudolf | Hedman, Åsa K. | Karjalainen, Juha | Schmidt, Ellen M. | Absher, Devin | Amin, Najaf | Anderson, Denise | Beekman, Marian | Bolton, Jennifer L. | Bragg-Gresham, Jennifer L. | Buyske, Steven | Demirkan, Ayse | Deng, Guohong | Ehret, Georg B. | Feenstra, Bjarke | Feitosa, Mary F. | Fischer, Krista | Goel, Anuj | Gong, Jian | Jackson, Anne U. | Kanoni, Stavroula | Kleber, Marcus E. | Kristiansson, Kati | Lim, Unhee | Lotay, Vaneet | Mangino, Massimo | Leach, Irene Mateo | Medina-Gomez, Carolina | Medland, Sarah E. | Nalls, Michael A. | Palmer, Cameron D. | Pasko, Dorota | Pechlivanis, Sonali | Peters, Marjolein J. | Prokopenko, Inga | Shungin, Dmitry | Stančáková, Alena | Strawbridge, Rona J. | Sung, Yun Ju | Tanaka, Toshiko | Teumer, Alexander | Trompet, Stella | van der Laan, Sander W. | van Setten, Jessica | Van Vliet-Ostaptchouk, Jana V. | Wang, Zhaoming | Yengo, Loïc | Zhang, Weihua | Isaacs, Aaron | Albrecht, Eva | Ärnlöv, Johan | Arscott, Gillian M. | Attwood, Antony P. | Bandinelli, Stefania | Barrett, Amy | Bas, Isabelita N. | Bellis, Claire | Bennett, Amanda J. | Berne, Christian | Blagieva, Roza | Blüher, Matthias | Böhringer, Stefan | Bonnycastle, Lori L. | Böttcher, Yvonne | Boyd, Heather A. | Bruinenberg, Marcel | Caspersen, Ida H. | Chen, Yii-Der Ida | Clarke, Robert | Daw, E. Warwick | de Craen, Anton J. M. | Delgado, Graciela | Dimitriou, Maria | Doney, Alex S. 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E. | Mahajan, Anubha | McArdle, Wendy L. | McLachlan, Stela | Menni, Cristina | Merger, Sigrun | Mihailov, Evelin | Milani, Lili | Moayyeri, Alireza | Monda, Keri L. | Morken, Mario A. | Mulas, Antonella | Müller, Gabriele | Müller-Nurasyid, Martina | Musk, Arthur W. | Nagaraja, Ramaiah | Nöthen, Markus M. | Nolte, Ilja M. | Pilz, Stefan | Rayner, Nigel W. | Renstrom, Frida | Rettig, Rainer | Ried, Janina S. | Ripke, Stephan | Robertson, Neil R. | Rose, Lynda M. | Sanna, Serena | Scharnagl, Hubert | Scholtens, Salome | Schumacher, Fredrick R. | Scott, William R. | Seufferlein, Thomas | Shi, Jianxin | Smith, Albert Vernon | Smolonska, Joanna | Stanton, Alice V. | Steinthorsdottir, Valgerdur | Stirrups, Kathleen | Stringham, Heather M. | Sundström, Johan | Swertz, Morris A. | Swift, Amy J. | Syvänen, Ann-Christine | Tan, Sian-Tsung | Tayo, Bamidele O. | Thorand, Barbara | Thorleifsson, Gudmar | Tyrer, Jonathan P. | Uh, Hae-Won | Vandenput, Liesbeth | Verhulst, Frank C. | Vermeulen, Sita H. | Verweij, Niek | Vonk, Judith M. | Waite, Lindsay L. | Warren, Helen R. | Waterworth, Dawn | Weedon, Michael N. | Wilkens, Lynne R. | Willenborg, Christina | Wilsgaard, Tom | Wojczynski, Mary K. | Wong, Andrew | Wright, Alan F. | Zhang, Qunyuan | Brennan, Eoin P. | Choi, Murim | Dastani, Zari | Drong, Alexander W. | Eriksson, Per | Franco-Cereceda, Anders | Gådin, Jesper R. | Gharavi, Ali G. | Goddard, Michael E. | Handsaker, Robert E. | Huang, Jinyan | Karpe, Fredrik | Kathiresan, Sekar | Keildson, Sarah | Kiryluk, Krzysztof | Kubo, Michiaki | Lee, Jong-Young | Liang, Liming | Lifton, Richard P. | Ma, Baoshan | McCarroll, Steven A. | McKnight, Amy J. | Min, Josine L. | Moffatt, Miriam F. | Montgomery, Grant W. | Murabito, Joanne M. | Nicholson, George | Nyholt, Dale R. | Okada, Yukinori | Perry, John R. B. | Dorajoo, Rajkumar | Reinmaa, Eva | Salem, Rany M. | Sandholm, Niina | Scott, Robert A. | Stolk, Lisette | Takahashi, Atsushi | Tanaka, Toshihiro | van ’t Hooft, Ferdinand M. | Vinkhuyzen, Anna A. E. | Westra, Harm-Jan | Zheng, Wei | Zondervan, Krina T. | Heath, Andrew C. | Arveiler, Dominique | Bakker, Stephan J. L. | Beilby, John | Bergman, Richard N. | Blangero, John | Bovet, Pascal | Campbell, Harry | Caulfield, Mark J. | Cesana, Giancarlo | Chakravarti, Aravinda | Chasman, Daniel I. | Chines, Peter S. | Collins, Francis S. | Crawford, Dana C. | Cupples, L. Adrienne | Cusi, Daniele | Danesh, John | de Faire, Ulf | den Ruijter, Hester M. | Dominiczak, Anna F. | Erbel, Raimund | Erdmann, Jeanette | Eriksson, Johan G. | Farrall, Martin | Felix, Stephan B. | Ferrannini, Ele | Ferrières, Jean | Ford, Ian | Forouhi, Nita G. | Forrester, Terrence | Franco, Oscar H. | Gansevoort, Ron T. | Gejman, Pablo V. | Gieger, Christian | Gottesman, Omri | Gudnason, Vilmundur | Gyllensten, Ulf | Hall, Alistair S. | Harris, Tamara B. | Hattersley, Andrew T. | Hicks, Andrew A. | Hindorff, Lucia A. | Hingorani, Aroon D. | Hofman, Albert | Homuth, Georg | Hovingh, G. Kees | Humphries, Steve E. | Hunt, Steven C. | Hyppönen, Elina | Illig, Thomas | Jacobs, Kevin B. | Jarvelin, Marjo-Riitta | Jöckel, Karl-Heinz | Johansen, Berit | Jousilahti, Pekka | Jukema, J. Wouter | Jula, Antti M. | Kaprio, Jaakko | Kastelein, John J. P. | Keinanen-Kiukaanniemi, Sirkka M. | Kiemeney, Lambertus A. | Knekt, Paul | Kooner, Jaspal S. | Kooperberg, Charles | Kovacs, Peter | Kraja, Aldi T. | Kumari, Meena | Kuusisto, Johanna | Lakka, Timo A. | Langenberg, Claudia | Marchand, Loic Le | Lehtimäki, Terho | Lyssenko, Valeriya | Männistö, Satu | Marette, André | Matise, Tara C. | McKenzie, Colin A. | McKnight, Barbara | Moll, Frans L. | Morris, Andrew D. | Morris, Andrew P. | Murray, Jeffrey C. | Nelis, Mari | Ohlsson, Claes | Oldehinkel, Albertine J. | Ong, Ken K. | Madden, Pamela A. F. | Pasterkamp, Gerard | Peden, John F. | Peters, Annette | Postma, Dirkje S. | Pramstaller, Peter P. | Price, Jackie F. | Qi, Lu | Raitakari, Olli T. | Rankinen, Tuomo | Rao, D. C. | Rice, Treva K. | Ridker, Paul M. | Rioux, John D. | Ritchie, Marylyn D. | Rudan, Igor | Salomaa, Veikko | Samani, Nilesh J. | Saramies, Jouko | Sarzynski, Mark A. | Schunkert, Heribert | Schwarz, Peter E. H. | Sever, Peter | Shuldiner, Alan R. | Sinisalo, Juha | Stolk, Ronald P. | Strauch, Konstantin | Tönjes, Anke | Trégouët, David-Alexandre | Tremblay, Angelo | Tremoli, Elena | Virtamo, Jarmo | Vohl, Marie-Claude | Völker, Uwe | Waeber, Gérard | Willemsen, Gonneke | Witteman, Jacqueline C. | Zillikens, M. Carola | Adair, Linda S. | Amouyel, Philippe | Asselbergs, Folkert W. | Assimes, Themistocles L. | Bochud, Murielle | Boehm, Bernhard O. | Boerwinkle, Eric | Bornstein, Stefan R. | Bottinger, Erwin P. | Bouchard, Claude | Cauchi, Stéphane | Chambers, John C. | Chanock, Stephen J. | Cooper, Richard S. | de Bakker, Paul I. W. | Dedoussis, George | Ferrucci, Luigi | Franks, Paul W. | Froguel, Philippe | Groop, Leif C. | Haiman, Christopher A. | Hamsten, Anders | Hui, Jennie | Hunter, David J. | Hveem, Kristian | Kaplan, Robert C. | Kivimaki, Mika | Kuh, Diana | Laakso, Markku | Liu, Yongmei | Martin, Nicholas G. | März, Winfried | Melbye, Mads | Metspalu, Andres | Moebus, Susanne | Munroe, Patricia B. | Njølstad, Inger | Oostra, Ben A. | Palmer, Colin N. A. | Pedersen, Nancy L. | Perola, Markus | Pérusse, Louis | Peters, Ulrike | Power, Chris | Quertermous, Thomas | Rauramaa, Rainer | Rivadeneira, Fernando | Saaristo, Timo E. | Saleheen, Danish | Sattar, Naveed | Schadt, Eric E. | Schlessinger, David | Slagboom, P. Eline | Snieder, Harold | Spector, Tim D. | Thorsteinsdottir, Unnur | Stumvoll, Michael | Tuomilehto, Jaakko | Uitterlinden, André G. | Uusitupa, Matti | van der Harst, Pim | Walker, Mark | Wallaschofski, Henri | Wareham, Nicholas J. | Watkins, Hugh | Weir, David R. | Wichmann, H-Erich | Wilson, James F. | Zanen, Pieter | Borecki, Ingrid B. | Deloukas, Panos | Fox, Caroline S. | Heid, Iris M. | O’Connell, Jeffrey R. | Strachan, David P. | Stefansson, Kari | van Duijn, Cornelia M. | Abecasis, Gonçalo R. | Franke, Lude | Frayling, Timothy M. | McCarthy, Mark I. | Visscher, Peter M. | Scherag, André | Willer, Cristen J. | Boehnke, Michael | Mohlke, Karen L. | Lindgren, Cecilia M. | Beckmann, Jacques S. | Barroso, Inês | North, Kari E. | Ingelsson, Erik | Hirschhorn, Joel N. | Loos, Ruth J. F. | Speliotes, Elizabeth K.
Nature  2015;518(7538):197-206.
Obesity is heritable and predisposes to many diseases. To understand the genetic basis of obesity better, here we conduct a genome-wide association study and Metabochip meta-analysis of body mass index (BMI), a measure commonly used to define obesity and assess adiposity, in up to 339,224 individuals. This analysis identifies 97 BMI-associated loci (P < 5 × 10−8), 56 of which are novel. Five loci demonstrate clear evidence of several independent association signals, and many loci have significant effects on other metabolic phenotypes. The 97 loci account for ~2.7% of BMI variation, and genome-wide estimates suggest that common variation accounts for >20% of BMI variation. Pathway analyses provide strong support for a role of the central nervous system in obesity susceptibility and implicate new genes and pathways, including those related to synaptic function, glutamate signalling, insulin secretion/action, energy metabolism, lipid biology and adipogenesis.
doi:10.1038/nature14177
PMCID: PMC4382211  PMID: 25673413
16.  Calling genotypes from public RNA-sequencing data enables identification of genetic variants that affect gene-expression levels 
Genome Medicine  2015;7(1):30.
Background
RNA-sequencing (RNA-seq) is a powerful technique for the identification of genetic variants that affect gene-expression levels, either through expression quantitative trait locus (eQTL) mapping or through allele-specific expression (ASE) analysis. Given increasing numbers of RNA-seq samples in the public domain, we here studied to what extent eQTLs and ASE effects can be identified when using public RNA-seq data while deriving the genotypes from the RNA-sequencing reads themselves.
Methods
We downloaded the raw reads for all available human RNA-seq datasets. Using these reads we performed gene expression quantification. All samples were jointly normalized and subjected to a strict quality control. We also derived genotypes using the RNA-seq reads and used imputation to infer non-coding variants. This allowed us to perform eQTL mapping and ASE analyses jointly on all samples that passed quality control. Our results were validated using samples for which DNA-seq genotypes were available.
Results
4,978 public human RNA-seq runs, representing many different tissues and cell-types, passed quality control. Even though these data originated from many different laboratories, samples reflecting the same cell type clustered together, suggesting that technical biases due to different sequencing protocols are limited. In a joint analysis on the 1,262 samples with high quality genotypes, we identified cis-eQTLs effects for 8,034 unique genes (at a false discovery rate ≤0.05). eQTL mapping on individual tissues revealed that a limited number of samples already suffice to identify tissue-specific eQTLs for known disease-associated genetic variants. Additionally, we observed strong ASE effects for 34 rare pathogenic variants, corroborating previously observed effects on the corresponding protein levels.
Conclusions
By deriving and imputing genotypes from RNA-seq data, it is possible to identify both eQTLs and ASE effects. Given the exponential growth of the number of publicly available RNA-seq samples, we expect this approach will become especially relevant for studying the effects of tissue-specific and rare pathogenic genetic variants to aid clinical interpretation of exome and genome sequencing.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s13073-015-0152-4) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
doi:10.1186/s13073-015-0152-4
PMCID: PMC4423486  PMID: 25954321
17.  Lessons Learned from Whole Exome Sequencing in Multiplex Families Affected by a Complex Genetic Disorder, Intracranial Aneurysm 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(3):e0121104.
Genetic risk factors for intracranial aneurysm (IA) are not yet fully understood. Genomewide association studies have been successful at identifying common variants; however, the role of rare variation in IA susceptibility has not been fully explored. In this study, we report the use of whole exome sequencing (WES) in seven densely-affected families (45 individuals) recruited as part of the Familial Intracranial Aneurysm study. WES variants were prioritized by functional prediction, frequency, predicted pathogenicity, and segregation within families. Using these criteria, 68 variants in 68 genes were prioritized across the seven families. Of the genes that were expressed in IA tissue, one gene (TMEM132B) was differentially expressed in aneurysmal samples (n=44) as compared to control samples (n=16) (false discovery rate adjusted p-value=0.023). We demonstrate that sequencing of densely affected families permits exploration of the role of rare variants in a relatively common disease such as IA, although there are important study design considerations for applying sequencing to complex disorders. In this study, we explore methods of WES variant prioritization, including the incorporation of unaffected individuals, multipoint linkage analysis, biological pathway information, and transcriptome profiling. Further studies are needed to validate and characterize the set of variants and genes identified in this study.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0121104
PMCID: PMC4372548  PMID: 25803036
18.  Genome of the Netherlands population-specific imputations identify an ABCA6 variant associated with cholesterol levels 
van Leeuwen, Elisabeth M. | Karssen, Lennart C. | Deelen, Joris | Isaacs, Aaron | Medina-Gomez, Carolina | Mbarek, Hamdi | Kanterakis, Alexandros | Trompet, Stella | Postmus, Iris | Verweij, Niek | van Enckevort, David J. | Huffman, Jennifer E. | White, Charles C. | Feitosa, Mary F. | Bartz, Traci M. | Manichaikul, Ani | Joshi, Peter K. | Peloso, Gina M. | Deelen, Patrick | van Dijk, Freerk | Willemsen, Gonneke | de Geus, Eco J. | Milaneschi, Yuri | Penninx, Brenda W.J.H. | Francioli, Laurent C. | Menelaou, Androniki | Pulit, Sara L. | Rivadeneira, Fernando | Hofman, Albert | Oostra, Ben A. | Franco, Oscar H. | Leach, Irene Mateo | Beekman, Marian | de Craen, Anton J.M. | Uh, Hae-Won | Trochet, Holly | Hocking, Lynne J. | Porteous, David J. | Sattar, Naveed | Packard, Chris J. | Buckley, Brendan M. | Brody, Jennifer A. | Bis, Joshua C. | Rotter, Jerome I. | Mychaleckyj, Josyf C. | Campbell, Harry | Duan, Qing | Lange, Leslie A. | Wilson, James F. | Hayward, Caroline | Polasek, Ozren | Vitart, Veronique | Rudan, Igor | Wright, Alan F. | Rich, Stephen S. | Psaty, Bruce M. | Borecki, Ingrid B. | Kearney, Patricia M. | Stott, David J. | Adrienne Cupples, L. | Jukema, J. Wouter | van der Harst, Pim | Sijbrands, Eric J. | Hottenga, Jouke-Jan | Uitterlinden, Andre G. | Swertz, Morris A. | van Ommen, Gert-Jan B. | de Bakker, Paul I.W. | Eline Slagboom, P. | Boomsma, Dorret I. | Wijmenga, Cisca | van Duijn, Cornelia M.
Nature Communications  2015;6:6065.
Variants associated with blood lipid levels may be population-specific. To identify low-frequency variants associated with this phenotype, population-specific reference panels may be used. Here we impute nine large Dutch biobanks (~35,000 samples) with the population-specific reference panel created by the Genome of the Netherlands Project and perform association testing with blood lipid levels. We report the discovery of five novel associations at four loci (P value <6.61 × 10−4), including a rare missense variant in ABCA6 (rs77542162, p.Cys1359Arg, frequency 0.034), which is predicted to be deleterious. The frequency of this ABCA6 variant is 3.65-fold increased in the Dutch and its effect (βLDL-C=0.135, βTC=0.140) is estimated to be very similar to those observed for single variants in well-known lipid genes, such as LDLR.
Frequencies of rare variants fluctuate over populations, hampering gene discovery. Here the authors use a population-specific reference panel, the Genome of the Netherlands, to discover four novel loci involved in lipid metabolism, including an exonic variant in ABCA6.
doi:10.1038/ncomms7065
PMCID: PMC4366498  PMID: 25751400
19.  Worm variation made accessible 
Worm  2014;3:e28357.
In Caenorhabditis elegans, the recent advances in high-throughput quantitative analyses of natural genetic and phenotypic variation have led to a wealth of data on genotype phenotype relations. This data has resulted in the discovery of genes with major allelic effects and insights in the effect of natural genetic variation on a whole range of complex traits as well as how this variation is distributed across the genome. Regardless of the advances presented in specific studies, the majority of the data generated in these studies had yet to be made easily accessible, allowing for meta-analysis. Not only data in figures or tables but meta-data should be accessible for further investigation and comparison between studies. A platform was created where all the data, phenotypic measurements, genotypes, and mappings can be stored, compared, and new linkages within and between published studies can be discovered. WormQTL focuses on quantitative genetics in Caenorhabditis and other nematode species, whereas WormQTLHD quantitatively links gene expression quantitative trait loci (eQTL) in C. elegans to gene–disease associations in humans.
doi:10.4161/worm.28357
PMCID: PMC4024057  PMID: 24843834
QTL; eQTL; C. elegans; WormQTL; WormQTLHD; database; quantitative genetics; human disease; genotype-phenotype
20.  Genotype harmonizer: automatic strand alignment and format conversion for genotype data integration 
BMC Research Notes  2014;7:901.
Background
To gain statistical power or to allow fine mapping, researchers typically want to pool data before meta-analyses or genotype imputation. However, the necessary harmonization of genetic datasets is currently error-prone because of many different file formats and lack of clarity about which genomic strand is used as reference.
Findings
Genotype Harmonizer (GH) is a command-line tool to harmonize genetic datasets by automatically solving issues concerning genomic strand and file format. GH solves the unknown strand issue by aligning ambiguous A/T and G/C SNPs to a specified reference, using linkage disequilibrium patterns without prior knowledge of the used strands. GH supports many common GWAS/NGS genotype formats including PLINK, binary PLINK, VCF, SHAPEIT2 & Oxford GEN. GH is implemented in Java and a large part of the functionality can also be used as Java ‘Genotype-IO’ API. All software is open source under license LGPLv3 and available from http://www.molgenis.org/systemsgenetics.
Conclusions
GH can be used to harmonize genetic datasets across different file formats and can be easily integrated as a step in routine meta-analysis and imputation pipelines.
doi:10.1186/1756-0500-7-901
PMCID: PMC4307387  PMID: 25495213
GWAS; Imputation; Meta-analysis; Linkage disequilibrium
21.  Improved imputation quality of low-frequency and rare variants in European samples using the ‘Genome of The Netherlands' 
European Journal of Human Genetics  2014;22(11):1321-1326.
Although genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have identified many common variants associated with complex traits, low-frequency and rare variants have not been interrogated in a comprehensive manner. Imputation from dense reference panels, such as the 1000 Genomes Project (1000G), enables testing of ungenotyped variants for association. Here we present the results of imputation using a large, new population-specific panel: the Genome of The Netherlands (GoNL). We benchmarked the performance of the 1000G and GoNL reference sets by comparing imputation genotypes with ‘true' genotypes typed on ImmunoChip in three European populations (Dutch, British, and Italian). GoNL showed significant improvement in the imputation quality for rare variants (MAF 0.05–0.5%) compared with 1000G. In Dutch samples, the mean observed Pearson correlation, r2, increased from 0.61 to 0.71. We also saw improved imputation accuracy for other European populations (in the British samples, r2 improved from 0.58 to 0.65, and in the Italians from 0.43 to 0.47). A combined reference set comprising 1000G and GoNL improved the imputation of rare variants even further. The Italian samples benefitted the most from this combined reference (the mean r2 increased from 0.47 to 0.50). We conclude that the creation of a large population-specific reference is advantageous for imputing rare variants and that a combined reference panel across multiple populations yields the best imputation results.
doi:10.1038/ejhg.2014.19
PMCID: PMC4200431  PMID: 24896149
genotype imputation; GWAS; GoNL; rare variants; reference sets; reference panel
22.  The Genome of the Netherlands: design, and project goals 
Within the Netherlands a national network of biobanks has been established (Biobanking and Biomolecular Research Infrastructure-Netherlands (BBMRI-NL)) as a national node of the European BBMRI. One of the aims of BBMRI-NL is to enrich biobanks with different types of molecular and phenotype data. Here, we describe the Genome of the Netherlands (GoNL), one of the projects within BBMRI-NL. GoNL is a whole-genome-sequencing project in a representative sample consisting of 250 trio-families from all provinces in the Netherlands, which aims to characterize DNA sequence variation in the Dutch population. The parent–offspring trios include adult individuals ranging in age from 19 to 87 years (mean=53 years; SD=16 years) from birth cohorts 1910–1994. Sequencing was done on blood-derived DNA from uncultured cells and accomplished coverage was 14–15x. The family-based design represents a unique resource to assess the frequency of regional variants, accurately reconstruct haplotypes by family-based phasing, characterize short indels and complex structural variants, and establish the rate of de novo mutational events. GoNL will also serve as a reference panel for imputation in the available genome-wide association studies in Dutch and other cohorts to refine association signals and uncover population-specific variants. GoNL will create a catalog of human genetic variation in this sample that is uniquely characterized with respect to micro-geographic location and a wide range of phenotypes. The resource will be made available to the research and medical community to guide the interpretation of sequencing projects. The present paper summarizes the global characteristics of the project.
doi:10.1038/ejhg.2013.118
PMCID: PMC3895638  PMID: 23714750
whole-genome sequence; trio-design; population genetics
23.  The prevalence of metabolic syndrome and metabolically healthy obesity in Europe: a collaborative analysis of ten large cohort studies 
Background
Not all obese subjects have an adverse metabolic profile predisposing them to developing type 2 diabetes or cardiovascular disease. The BioSHaRE-EU Healthy Obese Project aims to gain insights into the consequences of (healthy) obesity using data on risk factors and phenotypes across several large-scale cohort studies. Aim of this study was to describe the prevalence of obesity, metabolic syndrome (MetS) and metabolically healthy obesity (MHO) in ten participating studies.
Methods
Ten different cohorts in seven countries were combined, using data transformed into a harmonized format. All participants were of European origin, with age 18–80 years. They had participated in a clinical examination for anthropometric and blood pressure measurements. Blood samples had been drawn for analysis of lipids and glucose. Presence of MetS was assessed in those with obesity (BMI ≥ 30 kg/m2) based on the 2001 NCEP ATP III criteria, as well as an adapted set of less strict criteria. MHO was defined as obesity, having none of the MetS components, and no previous diagnosis of cardiovascular disease.
Results
Data for 163,517 individuals were available; 17% were obese (11,465 men and 16,612 women). The prevalence of obesity varied from 11.6% in the Italian CHRIS cohort to 26.3% in the German KORA cohort. The age-standardized percentage of obese subjects with MetS ranged in women from 24% in CHRIS to 65% in the Finnish Health2000 cohort, and in men from 43% in CHRIS to 78% in the Finnish DILGOM cohort, with elevated blood pressure the most frequently occurring factor contributing to the prevalence of the metabolic syndrome. The age-standardized prevalence of MHO varied in women from 7% in Health2000 to 28% in NCDS, and in men from 2% in DILGOM to 19% in CHRIS. MHO was more prevalent in women than in men, and decreased with age in both sexes.
Conclusions
Through a rigorous harmonization process, the BioSHaRE-EU consortium was able to compare key characteristics defining the metabolically healthy obese phenotype across ten cohort studies. There is considerable variability in the prevalence of healthy obesity across the different European populations studied, even when unified criteria were used to classify this phenotype.
doi:10.1186/1472-6823-14-9
PMCID: PMC3923238  PMID: 24484869
Harmonization; Obesity; Metabolic syndrome; Cardiovascular disease; Metabolically healthy
24.  Fine mapping of the celiac disease-associated LPP locus reveals a potential functional variant 
Human Molecular Genetics  2013;23(9):2481-2489.
Using the Immunochip for genotyping, we identified 39 non-human leukocyte antigen (non-HLA) loci associated to celiac disease (CeD), an immune-mediated disease with a worldwide frequency of ∼1%. The most significant non-HLA signal mapped to the intronic region of 70 kb in the LPP gene. Our aim was to fine map and identify possible functional variants in the LPP locus. We performed a meta-analysis in a cohort of 25 169 individuals from six different populations previously genotyped using Immunochip. Imputation using data from the Genome of the Netherlands and 1000 Genomes projects, followed by meta-analysis, confirmed the strong association signal on the LPP locus (rs2030519, P = 1.79 × 10−49), without any novel associations. The conditional analysis on this top SNP-indicated association to a single common haplotype. By performing haplotype analyses in each population separately, as well as in a combined group of the four populations that reach the significant threshold after correction (P < 0.008), we narrowed down the CeD-associated region from 70 to 2.8 kb (P = 1.35 × 10−44). By intersecting regulatory data from the ENCODE project, we found a functional SNP, rs4686484 (P = 3.12 × 10−49), that maps to several B-cell enhancer elements and a highly conserved region. This SNP was also predicted to change the binding motif of the transcription factors IRF4, IRF11, Nkx2.7 and Nkx2.9, suggesting its role in transcriptional regulation. We later found significantly low levels of LPP mRNA in CeD biopsies compared with controls, thus our results suggest that rs4686484 is the functional variant in this locus, while LPP expression is decreased in CeD.
doi:10.1093/hmg/ddt619
PMCID: PMC3976328  PMID: 24334606
25.  WormQTLHD—a web database for linking human disease to natural variation data in C. elegans 
Nucleic Acids Research  2013;42(Database issue):D794-D801.
Interactions between proteins are highly conserved across species. As a result, the molecular basis of multiple diseases affecting humans can be studied in model organisms that offer many alternative experimental opportunities. One such organism—Caenorhabditis elegans—has been used to produce much molecular quantitative genetics and systems biology data over the past decade. We present WormQTLHD (Human Disease), a database that quantitatively and systematically links expression Quantitative Trait Loci (eQTL) findings in C. elegans to gene–disease associations in man. WormQTLHD, available online at http://www.wormqtl-hd.org, is a user-friendly set of tools to reveal functionally coherent, evolutionary conserved gene networks. These can be used to predict novel gene-to-gene associations and the functions of genes underlying the disease of interest. We created a new database that links C. elegans eQTL data sets to human diseases (34 337 gene–disease associations from OMIM, DGA, GWAS Central and NHGRI GWAS Catalogue) based on overlapping sets of orthologous genes associated to phenotypes in these two species. We utilized QTL results, high-throughput molecular phenotypes, classical phenotypes and genotype data covering different developmental stages and environments from WormQTL database. All software is available as open source, built on MOLGENIS and xQTL workbench.
doi:10.1093/nar/gkt1044
PMCID: PMC3965109  PMID: 24217915

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