We report the first genome-wide association study of a joint analysis using 795 Han Chinese individuals with treatment-refractory schizophrenia (TRS) and 806 controls. Three loci showed suggestive significant association with TRS were identified. These loci include: rs10218843 (P = 3.04×10−7) and rs11265461 (P = 1.94×10−7) are adjacent to signaling lymphocytic activation molecule family member 1 (SLAMF1); rs4699030 (P = 1.94×10−6) and rs230529 (P = 1.74×10−7) are located in the gene nuclear factor of kappa light polypeptide gene enhancer in B-cells 1 (NFKB1); and rs13049286 (P = 3.05×10−5) and rs3827219 (P = 1.66×10−5) fall in receptor-interacting serine/threonine-protein kinase 4 (RIPK4). One isolated single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP), rs739617 (P = 3.87×10−5) was also identified to be associated with TRS. The -94delATTG allele (rs28362691) located in the promoter region of NFKB1 was identified by resequencing and was found to associate with TRS (P = 4.85×10−6). The promoter assay demonstrated that the -94delATTG allele had a significant lower promoter activity than the -94insATTG allele in the SH-SY5Y cells. This study suggests that rs28362691 in NFKB1 might be involved in the development of TRS.
Patients with Kawasaki disease (KD), a pediatric systemic vasculitis, may develop coronary artery aneurysm (CAA) as a complication. To investigate the role of glutamate receptors in KD and its CAA development, we performed genetic association studies.
Methods and results
We examined the whole family of glutamate receptors by genetic association studies in a Taiwanese cohort of 262 KD patients. We identified glutamate receptor ionotropic, kainate 1 (GRIK1) as a novel susceptibility locus associated with CAA formation in KD. Statistically significant differences were noted for factors like fever duration, 1st Intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG) used time (number of days after the first day of fever) and the GRIK1 (rs466013, rs425507, and rs38700) genetic variants. This significant association persisted even after using multivariate regression analysis (Full model: for rs466013: odds ratio =2.12; 95% CI =1.22-3.65; for rs425507: odds ratio =2.16; 95% CI =1.26-3.76; for rs388700: odds ratio =2.16; 95% CI =1.26-3.76).
We demonstrated that GRIK1 polymorphisms are associated CAA formation in KD, even when adjusted for fever duration and IVIG used time, and may also serve as a genetic marker for the CAA formation in KD.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/2045-3701-4-67) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
KD; GRIK1; Single nucleotide polymorphism; CAA
We conducted a genome-wide association study meta-analysis of mean arterial pressure and pulse pressure among 26,600 East Asian participants (stage-1) followed by replication study of up to 28,783 participants (stage-2). For novel loci, statistical significance was determined by a P<5.0×10−8 in joint analysis of stage-1 and stage-2 data. For loci reported by the previous mean arterial and pulse pressure genome-wide association study meta-analysis in Europeans, evidence of trans-ethnic replication was determined by consistency in effect direction and a Bonferroni-corrected P<1.4×10−3. No novel loci were identified by the current study. Five independent mean arterial pressure variants demonstrated robust evidence for trans-ethnic replication including rs17249754 at ATP2B1 (P=7.5×10−15), rs2681492 at ATP2B1 (P=3.4×10−7), rs11191593 at NT5C2 (1.1×10−6), rs3824755 at CYP17A1 (P=1.2×10−6), and rs13149993 at FGF5 (P=2.4×10−4). Two additional variants showed suggestive evidence of trans-ethnic replication (consistency in effect direction and P<0.05), including rs319690 at MAP4 (P=0.014) and rs1173771 at NPR3 (P=0.018). For pulse pressure, robust evidence of replication was identified for 2 independent variants, including rs17249754 at ATP2B1 (P=1.2×10−5) and rs11191593 at NT5C2 (P=1.1×10−3), with suggestive evidence of replication among an additional 2 variants including rs3824755 at CYP17A1 (P=6.1×10−3) and rs2681492 at ATP2B1 (P=9.0×10−3). Replicated variants demonstrated consistency in effect sizes between East Asian and European samples, with effect size differences ranging from 0.03 to 0.24 mmHg for mean arterial pressure and from 0.03 to 0.21 mmHg for pulse pressure. In conclusion, we present the first evidence of trans-ethnic replication of several mean arterial and pulse pressure loci in an East Asian population.
genetics; polymorphism; single nucleotide; blood pressure; hypertension; genome-wide association study; meta-analysis
Kawasaki disease (KD) is pediatric systemic vasculitis with the classic complication of coronary artery aneurysm (CAA). It is the leading cause of acquired cardiovascular diseases in children. Some severe cases present with multi-organ involvement or neurological dysfunction. To identify the role of the glutamate receptor, ionotropic, N-methyl-d-aspartate 3A (GRIN3A) in KD, we investigated genetic variations in GRIN3A in a Taiwanese cohort of 262 KD patients (76 with and 186 without CAA complications). We used univariate and multivariate regression analyses to identify the associations between clinical characteristics and GRIN3A genetic variations in KD. According to univariate regression analysis, CAA formation in KD was significantly associated with fever duration (p < 0.0001), first Intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG) used (days after day one of fever) (p < 0.0001), and the GRIN3A (rs7849782) genetic variant (p < 0.001). KD patients with GG+GC genotype showed a lower rate of developing CAA (GG+GC genotype: odds ratio = 0.26; 95% CI = 0.14–0.46). Significant associations were identified between KD with CAA complication and the GRIN3A (rs7849782) genetic variant by using multivariate regression analysis. Specifically, significant correlations were observed between KD with CAA complications and the presence of GG+GC genotypes for the GRIN3A rs7849782 single-nucleotide polymorphism (full model: odds ratio = 0.25; 95% CI = 0.14–0.46). Our results suggest that a polymorphism of the GRIN3A gene may play a role in KD pathogenesis.
The sorting nexin (SNX) family is involved in endocytosis and protein trafficking and plays multiple roles in various diseases. The role of SNX proteins in Kawasaki disease (KD) is not known. We attempted to test whether genetic SNX variation associates with the risk of coronary artery aneurysm (CAA) formation in KD.
Methods and results
Chi-square tests were used to identify SNX24 genetic variants associated with KD susceptibility and CAA formation in KD; models were adjusted for fever duration and time of first administration of intravenous immunoglobulin. We obtained clinical characteristics and genotypes from KD patients (76 with CAA and 186 without CAA) in a population-based retrospective KD cohort study (n = 262). Clinical and genetic factors were associated with CAA formation in KD. In addition, endothelial cell inflammation was evaluated. Significant correlation was observed between KD with CAA complications and the rs28891 single-nucleotide polymorphism in SNX24. Patients with CC + CT genotypes had lesser CAA complications. In lipopolysaccharide-treated human umbilical vein endothelial cells, siRNA knockdown of SNX24 significantly decreased gene expression of the proinflammatory cytokines IL-1 beta, IL-6, and IL-8.
Polymorphisms in SNX24 may be used as genetic markers for the diagnosis and prognosis of CAA formation in KD.
Kawasaki disease; Coronary artery aneurysm; Sorting nexin 24; Polymorphism
The BLK and CD40 loci have been associated with Kawasaki disease (KD) in two genome-wide association studies (GWAS) conducted in a Taiwanese population of Han Chinese ancestry (Taiwanese) and in Japanese cohorts. Here we build on these findings with replication studies of the BLK and CD40 loci in populations of Korean and European descent. The BLK region was significantly associated with KD susceptibility in both populations. Within the BLK gene the rs2736340-located linkage disequilibrium (LD ) comprising the promoter and first intron was strongly associated with KD, with the combined results of Asian studies including Taiwanese, Japanese, and Korean populations (2,539 KD patients and 7,021 controls) providing very compelling evidence of association (rs2736340, OR = 1.498, 1.354–1.657; P = 4.74×10−31). We determined the percentage of B cells present in the peripheral blood mononuclear cell (PBMC) population and the expression of BLK in the peripheral blood leukocytes (leukocytes) of KD patients during the acute and convalescent stages. The percentage of B cells in the PBMC population and the expression of BLK in leukocytes were induced in patients in the acute stage of KD. In B cell lines derived from KD patients, and in purified B cells from KD patients obtained during the acute stage, those with the risk allele of rs2736340 expressed significantly lower levels of BLK. These results suggest that peripheral B cells play a pathogenic role during the acute stage of KD. Decreased BLK expression in peripheral blood B cells may alter B cell function and predispose individuals to KD. These associative data suggest a role for B cells during acute KD. Understanding the functional implications may facilitate the development of B cell-mediated therapy for KD.
Recent meta-analyses of European ancestry subjects show strong evidence for association between smoking quantity and multiple genetic variants on chromosome 15q25. This meta-analysis extends the examination of association between distinct genes in the CHRNA5-CHRNA3-CHRNB4 region and smoking quantity to Asian and African American populations to confirm and refine specific reported associations.
Association results for a dichotomized cigarettes smoked per day (CPD) phenotype in 27 datasets (European ancestry (N=14,786), Asian (N=6,889), and African American (N=10,912) for a total of 32,587 smokers) were meta-analyzed by population and results were compared across all three populations.
We demonstrate association between smoking quantity and markers in the chromosome 15q25 region across all three populations, and narrow the region of association. Of the variants tested, only rs16969968 is associated with smoking (p < 0.01) in each of these three populations (OR=1.33, 95%C.I.=1.25–1.42, p=1.1×10−17 in meta-analysis across all population samples). Additional variants displayed a consistent signal in both European ancestry and Asian datasets, but not in African Americans.
The observed consistent association of rs16969968 with heavy smoking across multiple populations, combined with its known biological significance, suggests rs16969968 is most likely a functional variant that alters risk for heavy smoking. We interpret additional association results that differ across populations as providing evidence for additional functional variants, but we are unable to further localize the source of this association. Using the cross-population study paradigm provides valuable insights to narrow regions of interest and inform future biological experiments.
smoking; genetics; meta-analysis; cross-population
We conducted a three-stage genetic study to identify susceptibility loci for type 2 diabetes (T2D) in East Asian populations. The first stage meta-analysis of eight T2D genome-wide association studies (6,952 cases and 11,865 controls) was followed by a second stage in silico replication analysis (5,843 cases and 4,574 controls) and a stage 3 de novo replication analysis (12,284 cases and 13,172 controls). The combined analysis identified eight new T2D loci reaching genome-wide significance, which were mapped in or near GLIS3, PEPD, FITM2-R3HDML-HNF4A, KCNK16, MAEA, GCC1-PAX4, PSMD6 and ZFAND3. GLIS3, involved in pancreatic beta cell development and insulin gene expression1,2, is known for its association with fasting glucose levels3,4. The evidence of T2D association for PEPD5 and HNF4A6,7 has been detected in previous studies. KCNK16 may regulate glucose-dependent insulin secretion in the pancreas. These findings derived from East Asians provide new perspectives on the etiology of T2D.
Multiple genetic loci associated with obesity or body mass index (BMI) have been identified through genome-wide association studies conducted predominantly in populations of European ancestry. We conducted a meta-analysis of associations between BMI and approximately 2.4 million SNPs in 27,715 East Asians, followed by in silico and de novo replication in 37,691 and 17,642 additional East Asians, respectively. We identified ten BMI-associated loci at the genome-wide significance level (P<5.0×10−8), including seven previously identified loci (FTO, SEC16B, MC4R, GIPR/QPCTL, ADCY3/RBJ, BDNF, and MAP2K5) and three novel loci in or near the CDKAL1,PCSK1, and GP2 genes. Three additional loci nearly reached the genome-wide significance threshold, including two previously identified loci in the GNPDA2 and TFAP2B genes and a new locus near PAX6, which all had P<5.0×10−7. Findings from this study may shed light on new pathways involved in obesity and demonstrate the value of conducting genetic studies in non-European populations.
Ancestry informative markers (AIMs) are a type of genetic marker that is informative for tracing the ancestral ethnicity of individuals. Application of AIMs has gained substantial attention in population genetics, forensic sciences, and medical genetics. Single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), the materials of AIMs, are useful for classifying individuals from distinct continental origins but cannot discriminate individuals with subtle genetic differences from closely related ancestral lineages. Proof-of-principle studies have shown that gene expression (GE) also is a heritable human variation that exhibits differential intensity distributions among ethnic groups. GE supplies ethnic information supplemental to SNPs; this motivated us to integrate SNP and GE markers to construct AIM panels with a reduced number of required markers and provide high accuracy in ancestry inference. Few studies in the literature have considered GE in this aspect, and none have integrated SNP and GE markers to aid classification of samples from closely related ethnic populations.
We integrated a forward variable selection procedure into flexible discriminant analysis to identify key SNP and/or GE markers with the highest cross-validation prediction accuracy. By analyzing genome-wide SNP and/or GE markers in 210 independent samples from four ethnic groups in the HapMap II Project, we found that average testing accuracies for a majority of classification analyses were quite high, except for SNP-only analyses that were performed to discern study samples containing individuals from two close Asian populations. The average testing accuracies ranged from 0.53 to 0.79 for SNP-only analyses and increased to around 0.90 when GE markers were integrated together with SNP markers for the classification of samples from closely related Asian populations. Compared to GE-only analyses, integrative analyses of SNP and GE markers showed comparable testing accuracies and a reduced number of selected markers in AIM panels.
Integrative analysis of SNP and GE markers provides high-accuracy and/or cost-effective classification results for assigning samples from closely related or distantly related ancestral lineages to their original ancestral populations. User-friendly BIASLESS (Biomarkers Identification and Samples Subdivision) software was developed as an efficient tool for selecting key SNP and/or GE markers and then building models for sample subdivision. BIASLESS was programmed in R and R-GUI and is available online at http://www.stat.sinica.edu.tw/hsinchou/genetics/prediction/BIASLESS.htm.
Single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP); Allele frequency; Gene expression; HapMap; Classification analysis; Ancestry informative marker (AIM)
The forced swim test (FST) is a commonly used model to predict antidepressant efficacy. Uncovering the genetic basis of the model may unravel the mechanism of antidepressant treatment.
FVB/NJ (FVB) and C57BL/6J (B6) were first identified as the response and non-response strains to fluoxetine (a serotonin-specific reuptake inhibitor antidepressant) treatment in the mouse FST. Simple-interval (SIM) and composite-interval (CIM) mappings were applied to map the quantitative trait loci (QTLs) of the anti-immobility effect of fluoxetine in FST (FSTFLX) in 865 male B6×FVB-F2 mice. The brain mRNA expressions of the gene with the maximum QTL-linkage signal for FSTFLX after the FST were compared between B6 and FVB mice and also compared between fluoxetine and saline treatment. The association of the variants in the human homologue of the mouse FSTFLX-QTL gene with major depressive disorder (MDD) and antidepressant response were investigated in 1080 human subjects (MDD/control = 582/498).
One linkage signal for FSTFLX-QTL was detected at an intronic SNP (rs6215396) of the mouse Zfp326 gene (maximal CIM-LOD = 9.36). The Zfp326 mRNA expression in the FVB thalamus was significantly down-regulated by fluoxetine in the FST, and the higher FVB-to-B6 Zfp326 mRNA expressions in the frontal cortex, striatum and hypothalamus diminished after fluoxetine treatment. Two coding-synonymous SNPs (rs2816881 and rs10922744) in the human homologue of Zfp326, ZNF326, were significantly associated with the 8-week antidepressant treatment response in the MDD patients (Bonferroni-corrected p = 0.004–0.028).
The findings suggest the involvement of the Zfp326 and ZNF326 genes in antidepressant treatment response.
We conducted a meta-analysis of genome-wide association studies of systolic (SBP) and diastolic (DBP) blood pressure in 19,608 subjects of East Asian ancestry from the AGEN-BP consortium followed by de novo genotypingin 2 stages of replication involving 10,518 and 20,247 East Asian samples. We identified novel genome-wide significant (P < 5 × 10−8) associations between SBP or DBP and variants at four novel loci: ST7L-CAPZA1, FIGN-GRB14, ENPEP, and NPR3, as well as a novel variant near TBX3. Except for NPR3, all novel findings were significantly replicated for SBP or DBP in independent samples. Sevenloci previously reported in populations of European descent were confirmed. On 12q24.13, we observed an ethnic specific association(implicating rs671 at the ALDH2 locus as the causal variant) that affected SBP, DBP and multiple traits related to coronary artery disease. These findings provide novel insights into blood pressure regulation and potential targets for intervention.
Kawasaki disease (KD) is an acute systemic vasculitis syndrome that primarily affects infants and young children. Its etiology is unknown; however, epidemiological findings suggest that genetic predisposition underlies disease susceptibility. Taiwan has the third-highest incidence of KD in the world, after Japan and Korea. To investigate novel mechanisms that might predispose individuals to KD, we conducted a genome-wide association study (GWAS) in 250 KD patients and 446 controls in a Han Chinese population residing in Taiwan, and further validated our findings in an independent Han Chinese cohort of 208 cases and 366 controls. The most strongly associated single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) detected in the joint analysis corresponded to three novel loci. Among these KD-associated SNPs three were close to the COPB2 (coatomer protein complex beta-2 subunit) gene: rs1873668 (p = 9.52×10−5), rs4243399 (p = 9.93×10−5), and rs16849083 (p = 9.93×10−5). We also identified a SNP in the intronic region of the ERAP1 (endoplasmic reticulum amino peptidase 1) gene (rs149481, pbest = 4.61×10−5). Six SNPs (rs17113284, rs8005468, rs10129255, rs2007467, rs10150241, and rs12590667) clustered in an area containing immunoglobulin heavy chain variable regions genes, with pbest-values between 2.08×10−5 and 8.93×10−6, were also identified. This is the first KD GWAS performed in a Han Chinese population. The novel KD candidates we identified have been implicated in T cell receptor signaling, regulation of proinflammatory cytokines, as well as antibody-mediated immune responses. These findings may lead to a better understanding of the underlying molecular pathogenesis of KD.
Garlic (Allium sativum) has been valued in many cultures both for its health effects and as a culinary flavor enhancer. Garlic's chemical complexity is widely thought to be the source of its many health benefits, which include, but are not limited to, anti-platelet, procirculatory, anti-inflammatory, anti-apoptotic, neuro-protective, and anti-cancer effects. While a growing body of scientific evidence strongly upholds the herb's broad and potent capacity to influence health, the common mechanisms underlying these diverse effects remain disjointed and relatively poorly understood. We adopted a phenotype-driven approach to investigate the effects of garlic in a mouse model. We examined RBC indices and morphologies, spleen histochemistry, RBC half-lives and gene expression profiles, followed up by qPCR and immunoblot validation. The RBCs of garlic-fed mice register shorter half-lives than the control. But they have normal blood chemistry and RBC indices. Their spleens manifest increased heme oxygenase 1, higher levels of iron and bilirubin, and presumably higher CO, a pleiotropic gasotransmitter. Heat shock genes and those critical for erythropoiesis are elevated in spleens but not in bone marrow. The garlic-fed mice have lower plasma erythropoietin than the controls, however. Chronic exposure to CO of mice on garlic-free diet was sufficient to cause increased RBC indices but again with a lower plasma erythropoietin level than air-treated controls. Furthermore, dietary garlic supplementation and CO treatment showed additive effects on reducing plasma erythropoietin levels in mice. Thus, garlic consumption not only causes increased energy demand from the faster RBC turnover but also increases the production of CO, which in turn stimulates splenic erythropoiesis by an erythropoietin-independent mechanism, thus completing the sequence of feedback regulation for RBC metabolism. Being a pleiotropic gasotransmitter, CO may be a second messenger for garlic's other physiological effects.
Previous studies have established cross-cultural methods to screen for ageing- related dementia and susceptibility genes, in particular Alzheimer’s disease (AD) among the Canadian Cree, African Americans and Yoruba in Nigeria. We determined whether the Community Screening Interview for Dementia (CSID), translated into Kikuyu, a major language of Kenya, could be used to evaluate dementia of the Alzheimer type. Using two sets of coefficients of cognitive and informant scores, two discriminant function (DF) scores were calculated for each of 100 elderly (>65 years) Nyeri Kenyans. When the cut-off points were selected for 100% sensitivities, the specificities of the DF scores were remarkably similar (93.75%) in the Kenyan sample. We propose the adapted CSID can be utilised to detect dementia among East Africans. We also show that apolipoprotein E ε4 allele frequencies were high (∼30%) and not different between normal subjects and those with probable AD. There was no evidence to suggest years of education or vascular factors were associated with dementia status.
Africa; Alzheimer’s disease; Apolipoprotein E; Cognitive impairment; Dementia; Kenya; Neuropsychology
To investigate the underlying mechanisms of T2D pathogenesis, we looked for diabetes susceptibility genes that increase the risk of type 2 diabetes (T2D) in a Han Chinese population. A two-stage genome-wide association (GWA) study was conducted, in which 995 patients and 894 controls were genotyped using the Illumina HumanHap550-Duo BeadChip for the first genome scan stage. This was further replicated in 1,803 patients and 1,473 controls in stage 2. We found two loci not previously associated with diabetes susceptibility in and around the genes protein tyrosine phosphatase receptor type D (PTPRD) (P = 8.54×10−10; odds ratio [OR] = 1.57; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.36–1.82), and serine racemase (SRR) (P = 3.06×10−9; OR = 1.28; 95% CI = 1.18–1.39). We also confirmed that variants in KCNQ1 were associated with T2D risk, with the strongest signal at rs2237895 (P = 9.65×10−10; OR = 1.29, 95% CI = 1.19–1.40). By identifying two novel genetic susceptibility loci in a Han Chinese population and confirming the involvement of KCNQ1, which was previously reported to be associated with T2D in Japanese and European descent populations, our results may lead to a better understanding of differences in the molecular pathogenesis of T2D among various populations.
Type 2 diabetes (T2D) is a complex disease that involves many genes and environmental factors. Genome-wide and candidate-gene association studies have thus far identified at least 19 regions containing genes that may confer a risk for T2D. However, most of these studies were conducted with patients of European descent. We studied Chinese patients with T2D and identified two genes, PTPRD and SRR, that were not previously known to be involved in diabetes and are involved in biological pathways different from those implicated in T2D by previous association reports. PTPRD is a protein tyrosine phosphatase and may affect insulin signaling on its target cells. SRR encodes a serine racemase that synthesizes D-serine from L-serine. Both D-serine (coagonist) and the neurotransmitter glutamate bind to NMDA receptors and trigger excitatory neurotransmission in the brain. Glutamate signaling also regulates insulin and glucagon secretion in pancreatic islets. Thus, SRR and D-serine, in addition to regulating insulin and glucagon secretion, may play a role in the etiology of T2D. Our study suggests that, in different patient populations, different genes may confer risks for diabetes. Our findings may lead to a better understanding of the molecular pathogenesis of T2D.
Rough set theory and decision trees are data mining methods used for dealing with vagueness and uncertainty. They have been utilized to unearth hidden patterns in complicated datasets collected for industrial processes. The Genetic Analysis Workshop 14 simulated data were generated using a system that implemented multiple correlations among four consequential layers of genetic data (disease-related loci, endophenotypes, phenotypes, and one disease trait). When information of one layer was blocked and uncertainty was created in the correlations among these layers, the correlation between the first and last layers (susceptibility genes and the disease trait in this case), was not easily directly detected. In this study, we proposed a two-stage process that applied rough set theory and decision trees to identify genes susceptible to the disease trait. During the first stage, based on phenotypes of subjects and their parents, decision trees were built to predict trait values. Phenotypes retained in the decision trees were then advanced to the second stage, where rough set theory was applied to discover the minimal subsets of genes associated with the disease trait. For comparison, decision trees were also constructed to map susceptible genes during the second stage. Our results showed that the decision trees of the first stage had accuracy rates of about 99% in predicting the disease trait. The decision trees and rough set theory failed to identify the true disease-related loci.
Endophenotypes such as behavior disorders have been increasingly adopted in genetic studies for complex traits. For efficient gene mapping, it is essential that an endophenotype is associated with the disease of interest and is inheritable or co-segregating within families. In this study, we proposed a strategy to construct endophenotypes to analyze the Genetic Analysis Workshop 14 simulated dataset. Initially, generalized estimating equation models were employed to identify phenotypes that were correlated to the disease (affected status) in combination with the family structures in data. Endophenotypes were then constructed with consideration of heterogeneity as functions of the identified phenotypes. Genome scans on the constructed endophenotypes were carried out using family-based association analysis. For comparison, genome scans were also performed with the original affected status. The family-based association analysis using the endophenotypes correctly identified the same susceptible gene in about 80 of the 100 replicates.
In the analysis of complex traits such as fasting plasma glucose levels, researchers often adjust the trait for some important covariates before assessing gene susceptibility, and may at times encounter confounding among the covariates and the susceptible genes. Previously, the tree-based method has been employed to accommodate the heterogeneity in complex traits. In this study, we performed a genome-wide screen on fasting glucose levels in the offspring generation of the Framingham Heart Study provided by the Genetic Analysis Workshop 13. We defined one quantitative trait and converted it to a dichotomous trait based on a predetermined cut-off value, and performed association analyses using regression and classification trees for the two traits, respectively. A marker was interpreted as positive if at least one of its alleles exhibited association in both analyses. Our purpose was to identify candidate genes susceptible to fasting glucose levels in the presence of other covariates. The covariates entered in the analysis including sex, body mass index, and lipids (total plasma cholesterol, high density lipoprotein cholesterol, and triglycerides) of the subjects, and those of their parents.
Four out of seven positive regions in chromosomes 1, 2, 6, 11, 16, 18, and 19 from our analyses harbored or were very close to previously reported diabetes related genes or potential candidate genes.
This screen method that employed tree-based association showed promise for identifying candidate loci in the presence of covariates in genome scans for complex traits.