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2.  Cerebellar Telomere Length and Psychiatric Disorders 
Behavior genetics  2010;40(2):250-254.
We tested whether telomere length is altered in the brains of patients diagnosed with major depression (MD), bipolar disorder (BD) and schizophrenia (SZ) by measuring mean telomere length (mTL) with real-time PCR. The samples are cerebellar gray matter from 46 SZ, 46 BP, and 15 MD patients, and 48 healthy controls. We found no difference in mTL between SZ and controls, BD and controls, MD and controls, or all cases and controls; no correlation between mTL and age was observed, either. This suggests that brain gray matter is unlikely to be related to the telomere length shortening reported in blood of psychiatric patients. White matter deserves further investigation as it has been reported to have a different mTL dynamic from gray matter. Since mTL has been reported to be a heritable quantitative trait, we also carried out genome-wide mapping of genetic factors for mTL, treating mTL as a quantitative trait. No association survived correction of multiple testing for the number of SNPs studied. The previously reported rs2630578 (BICD1) association was not replicated. This suggests that telomere length of cerebellar gray matter is determined by multiple loci with “weak effects.”
PMCID: PMC3053383  PMID: 20127402
Mean telomere length; Bipolar disorder; Major depression; Schizophrenia; Mapping; Quantitative trait
3.  Multimarker analysis and imputation of multiple platform pooling-based genome-wide association studies 
Bioinformatics  2008;24(17):1896-1902.
Summary: For many genome-wide association (GWA) studies individually genotyping one million or more SNPs provides a marginal increase in coverage at a substantial cost. Much of the information gained is redundant due to the correlation structure inherent in the human genome. Pooling-based GWA studies could benefit significantly by utilizing this redundancy to reduce noise, improve the accuracy of the observations and increase genomic coverage. We introduce a measure of correlation between individual genotyping and pooling, under the same framework that r2 provides a measure of linkage disequilibrium (LD) between pairs of SNPs. We then report a new non-haplotype multimarker multi-loci method that leverages the correlation structure between SNPs in the human genome to increase the efficacy of pooling-based GWA studies. We first give a theoretical framework and derivation of our multimarker method. Next, we evaluate simulations using this multimarker approach in comparison to single marker analysis. Finally, we experimentally evaluate our method using different pools of HapMap individuals on the Illumina 450S Duo, Illumina 550K and Affymetrix 5.0 platforms for a combined total of 1 333 631 SNPs. Our results show that use of multimarker analysis reduces noise specific to pooling-based studies, allows for efficient integration of multiple microarray platforms and provides more accurate measures of significance than single marker analysis. Additionally, this approach can be extended to allow for imputing the association significance for SNPs not directly observed using neighboring SNPs in LD. This multimarker method can now be used to cost-effectively complete pooling-based GWA studies with multiple platforms across over one million SNPs and to impute neighboring SNPs weighted for the loss of information due to pooling.
Supplementary information: Supplementary data are available at Bioinformatics online.
PMCID: PMC2732219  PMID: 18617537
4.  Resolving Individuals Contributing Trace Amounts of DNA to Highly Complex Mixtures Using High-Density SNP Genotyping Microarrays 
PLoS Genetics  2008;4(8):e1000167.
We use high-density single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) genotyping microarrays to demonstrate the ability to accurately and robustly determine whether individuals are in a complex genomic DNA mixture. We first develop a theoretical framework for detecting an individual's presence within a mixture, then show, through simulations, the limits associated with our method, and finally demonstrate experimentally the identification of the presence of genomic DNA of specific individuals within a series of highly complex genomic mixtures, including mixtures where an individual contributes less than 0.1% of the total genomic DNA. These findings shift the perceived utility of SNPs for identifying individual trace contributors within a forensics mixture, and suggest future research efforts into assessing the viability of previously sub-optimal DNA sources due to sample contamination. These findings also suggest that composite statistics across cohorts, such as allele frequency or genotype counts, do not mask identity within genome-wide association studies. The implications of these findings are discussed.
Author Summary
In this report we describe a framework for accurately and robustly resolving whether individuals are in a complex genomic DNA mixture using high-density single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) genotyping microarrays. We develop a theoretical framework for detecting an individual's presence within a mixture, show its limits through simulation, and finally demonstrate experimentally the identification of the presence of genomic DNA of individuals within a series of highly complex genomic mixtures. Our approaches demonstrate straightforward identification of trace amounts (<1%) of DNA from an individual contributor within a complex mixture. We show how probe-intensity analysis of high-density SNP data can be used, even given the experimental noise of a microarray. We discuss the implications of these findings in two fields: forensics and genome-wide association (GWA) genetic studies. Within forensics, resolving whether an individual is contributing trace amounts of genomic DNA to a complex mixture is a tremendous challenge. Within GWA studies, there is a considerable push to make experimental data publicly available so that the data can be combined with other studies. Our findings show that such an approach does not completely conceal identity, since it is straightforward to assess the probability that a person or relative participated in a GWA study.
PMCID: PMC2516199  PMID: 18769715

Results 1-4 (4)