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1.  Mitochondrial Polymorphism A10398G and Haplogroup I Are Associated With Fuchs' Endothelial Corneal Dystrophy 
Purpose.
We investigated whether mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) variants affect the susceptibility of Fuchs endothelial corneal dystrophy (FECD).
Methods.
Ten mtDNA variants defining European haplogroups were genotyped in a discovery dataset consisting of 530 cases and 498 controls of European descent from the Duke FECD cohort. Association tests for mtDNA markers and haplogroups were performed using logistic regression models with adjustment of age and sex. Subset analyses included controlling for additional effects of either the TCF4 SNP rs613872 or cigarette smoking. Our replication dataset was derived from the genome-wide association study (GWAS) of the FECD Genetics Consortium, where genotypes for three of 10 mtDNA markers were available. Replication analyses were performed to compare non-Duke cases to all GWAS controls (GWAS1, N = 3200), and to non-Duke controls (GWAS2, N = 3043).
Results.
The variant A10398G was significantly associated with FECD (odds ratio [OR] = 0.72; 95% confidence interval [CI] = [0.53, 0.98]; P = 0.034), and remains significant after adjusting for smoking status (min P = 0.012). This variant was replicated in GWAS1 (P = 0.019) and GWAS2 (P = 0.036). Haplogroup I was significantly associated with FECD (OR = 0.46; 95% CI = [0.22, 0.97]; P = 0.041) and remains significant after adjusting for the effect of smoking (min P = 0.008) or rs613872 (P = 0.034).
Conclusions.
The 10398G allele and Haplogroup I appear to confer significant protective effects for FECD. The effect of A10398G and Haplogroup I to FECD is likely independent of the known TCF4 variant. More data are needed to decipher the interaction between smoking and mtDNA haplogroups.
The nine European mitochondrial haplogroups were investigated for the susceptibility of Fuchs endothelial corneal dystrophy (FECD). A10398G and Haplogroup I were found significantly decreasing the risk of FECD.
doi:10.1167/iovs.13-13517
PMCID: PMC4109404  PMID: 24917144
mitochondrial haplogroup; genetic association; oxidative stress; TCF4; smoking
2.  Association between AVPR1A, DRD2, and ASPM and Endophenotypes of Communication Disorders 
Psychiatric genetics  2014;24(5):191-200.
Objectives
Speech sound disorder (SSD) is one of the most common communication disorders, with prevalence rates of 16% at 3 years of age, and an estimated 3.8% of children still presenting speech difficulties at 6 years of age. Several studies have identified promising associations between communication disorders and genes in brain and neuronal pathways, but there have been few studies focusing on SSD and its associated endophenotypes. Based on the hypothesis that neuronal genes may influence endophenotypes common to communication disorders, we focused on three genes related to brain and central nervous system functioning: dopamine D2 receptor (DRD2), arginine-vassopressin receptor 1a (AVPR1A), and microcephaly gene ASPM.
Methods
We examined the association of these genes with key endophenotypes of SSD – phonological memory measured by multisyllabic and nonword repetition, vocabulary measured by Expressive One Word Picture Vocabulary Test (EOWPVT) and Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test (PPVT), and reading decoding measured by Woodcock Reading Mastery Tests Revised – as well as the clinical phenotype of SSD. We genotyped tag SNPs in these genes and examined 498 individuals from 180 families.
Results
These data show several SNPs in all three genes were associated with phonological memory, vocabulary, and reading decoding with p<0.05. Notably, associations in AVPR1A (rs11832266) were significant after multiple testing correction. Gene-level tests showed DRD2 was associated with vocabulary, ASPM with vocabulary and reading decoding, and AVPR1A with all three endophenotypes.
Conclusions
Endophenotypes common to SSD, language impairment, and reading disability are all associated with these neuronal pathway genes.
doi:10.1097/YPG.0000000000000045
PMCID: PMC4141900  PMID: 24849541
neural genes; phonology; speech impairment; language development; genetics
3.  Meta-Analysis of Genome-Wide Association Studies in African Americans Provides Insights into the Genetic Architecture of Type 2 Diabetes 
Ng, Maggie C. Y. | Shriner, Daniel | Chen, Brian H. | Li, Jiang | Chen, Wei-Min | Guo, Xiuqing | Liu, Jiankang | Bielinski, Suzette J. | Yanek, Lisa R. | Nalls, Michael A. | Comeau, Mary E. | Rasmussen-Torvik, Laura J. | Jensen, Richard A. | Evans, Daniel S. | Sun, Yan V. | An, Ping | Patel, Sanjay R. | Lu, Yingchang | Long, Jirong | Armstrong, Loren L. | Wagenknecht, Lynne | Yang, Lingyao | Snively, Beverly M. | Palmer, Nicholette D. | Mudgal, Poorva | Langefeld, Carl D. | Keene, Keith L. | Freedman, Barry I. | Mychaleckyj, Josyf C. | Nayak, Uma | Raffel, Leslie J. | Goodarzi, Mark O. | Chen, Y-D Ida | Taylor, Herman A. | Correa, Adolfo | Sims, Mario | Couper, David | Pankow, James S. | Boerwinkle, Eric | Adeyemo, Adebowale | Doumatey, Ayo | Chen, Guanjie | Mathias, Rasika A. | Vaidya, Dhananjay | Singleton, Andrew B. | Zonderman, Alan B. | Igo, Robert P. | Sedor, John R. | Kabagambe, Edmond K. | Siscovick, David S. | McKnight, Barbara | Rice, Kenneth | Liu, Yongmei | Hsueh, Wen-Chi | Zhao, Wei | Bielak, Lawrence F. | Kraja, Aldi | Province, Michael A. | Bottinger, Erwin P. | Gottesman, Omri | Cai, Qiuyin | Zheng, Wei | Blot, William J. | Lowe, William L. | Pacheco, Jennifer A. | Crawford, Dana C. | Grundberg, Elin | Rich, Stephen S. | Hayes, M. Geoffrey | Shu, Xiao-Ou | Loos, Ruth J. F. | Borecki, Ingrid B. | Peyser, Patricia A. | Cummings, Steven R. | Psaty, Bruce M. | Fornage, Myriam | Iyengar, Sudha K. | Evans, Michele K. | Becker, Diane M. | Kao, W. H. Linda | Wilson, James G. | Rotter, Jerome I. | Sale, Michèle M. | Liu, Simin | Rotimi, Charles N. | Bowden, Donald W.
PLoS Genetics  2014;10(8):e1004517.
Type 2 diabetes (T2D) is more prevalent in African Americans than in Europeans. However, little is known about the genetic risk in African Americans despite the recent identification of more than 70 T2D loci primarily by genome-wide association studies (GWAS) in individuals of European ancestry. In order to investigate the genetic architecture of T2D in African Americans, the MEta-analysis of type 2 DIabetes in African Americans (MEDIA) Consortium examined 17 GWAS on T2D comprising 8,284 cases and 15,543 controls in African Americans in stage 1 analysis. Single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) association analysis was conducted in each study under the additive model after adjustment for age, sex, study site, and principal components. Meta-analysis of approximately 2.6 million genotyped and imputed SNPs in all studies was conducted using an inverse variance-weighted fixed effect model. Replications were performed to follow up 21 loci in up to 6,061 cases and 5,483 controls in African Americans, and 8,130 cases and 38,987 controls of European ancestry. We identified three known loci (TCF7L2, HMGA2 and KCNQ1) and two novel loci (HLA-B and INS-IGF2) at genome-wide significance (4.15×10−94
Author Summary
Despite the higher prevalence of type 2 diabetes (T2D) in African Americans than in Europeans, recent genome-wide association studies (GWAS) were examined primarily in individuals of European ancestry. In this study, we performed meta-analysis of 17 GWAS in 8,284 cases and 15,543 controls to explore the genetic architecture of T2D in African Americans. Following replication in additional 6,061 cases and 5,483 controls in African Americans, and 8,130 cases and 38,987 controls of European ancestry, we identified two novel and three previous reported T2D loci reaching genome-wide significance. We also examined 158 loci previously reported to be associated with T2D or regulating glucose homeostasis. While 56% of these loci were shared between African Americans and the other populations, the strongest associations in African Americans are often found in nearby single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) instead of the original SNPs reported in other populations due to differential genetic architecture across populations. Our results highlight the importance of performing genetic studies in non-European populations to fine map the causal genetic variants.
doi:10.1371/journal.pgen.1004517
PMCID: PMC4125087  PMID: 25102180
The underlying ethos of dbGaP is that access to these data by secondary data analysts facilitates advancement of science. NIH has required that genome-wide association study data be deposited in the Database of Genotypes and Phenotypes (dbGaP) since 2003. In 2013, a proposed updated policy extended this requirement to next-generation sequencing data. However, recent literature and anecdotal reports suggest lingering logistical and ethical concerns about subject identifiability, informed consent, publication embargo enforcement, and difficulty in accessing dbGaP data. We surveyed the International Genetic Epidemiology Society (IGES) membership about their experiences. One hundred and seventy five (175) individuals completed the survey, a response rate of 27%. Of respondents who received data from dbGaP (43%), only 32% perceived the application process as easy but most (75%) received data within five months. Remaining challenges include difficulty in identifying an institutional signing official and an overlong application process. Only 24% of respondents had contributed data to dbGaP. Of these, 31% reported local IRB restrictions on data release; an additional 15% had to reconsent study participants before depositing data. The majority of respondents (56%) disagreed that the publication embargo period was sufficient. In response, we recommend longer embargo periods and use of varied data-sharing models rather than a one-size-fits-all approach.
doi:10.3390/ijerph110808383
PMCID: PMC4143867  PMID: 25153467
data sharing; identifiability; GWAS; ELSI; ethics; publication embargo; collaboration
Purpose.
We tested variants in genes related to lutein and zeaxanthin status for association with age-related macular degeneration (AMD) in the Carotenoids in Age-Related Eye Disease Study (CAREDS).
Methods.
Of 2005 CAREDS participants, 1663 were graded for AMD from fundus photography and genotyped for 424 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) from 24 candidate genes for carotenoid status. Of 337 AMD cases 91% had early or intermediate AMD. The SNPs were tested individually for association with AMD using logistic regression. A carotenoid-related genetic risk model was built using backward selection and compared to existing AMD risk factors using the area under the receiver operating characteristic curve (AUC).
Results.
A total of 24 variants from five genes (BCMO1, BCO2, NPCL1L1, ABCG8, and FADS2) not previously related to AMD and four genes related to AMD in previous studies (SCARB1, ABCA1, APOE, and ALDH3A2) were associated independently with AMD, after adjusting for age and ancestry. Variants in all genes (not always the identical SNPs) were associated with lutein and zeaxanthin in serum and/or macula, in this or other samples, except for BCO2 and FADS2. A genetic risk score including nine variants significantly (P = 0.002) discriminated between AMD cases and controls beyond age, smoking, CFH Y402H, and ARMS2 A69S. The odds ratio (95% confidence interval) for AMD among women in the highest versus lowest quintile for the risk score was 3.1 (2.0–4.9).
Conclusions.
Variants in genes related to lutein and zeaxanthin status were associated with AMD in CAREDS, adding to the body of evidence supporting a protective role of lutein and zeaxanthin in risk of AMD.
In this study of over 1600 postmenopausal women of the CAREDS, we describe the first evidence that variation in multiple genes related to carotenoid status in the blood and macula are associated with age-related macular degeneration (AMD).
doi:10.1167/iovs.13-13216
PMCID: PMC3908680  PMID: 24346170
macular degeneration; carotenoids; genes
BMC Infectious Diseases  2014;14:352.
Background
Despite sustained exposure to a person with pulmonary tuberculosis (TB), some M. tuberculosis (Mtb) exposed individuals maintain a negative tuberculin skin test (TST). Our objective was to characterize these persistently negative TST (PTST-) individuals and compare them to TST converters (TSTC) and individuals who are TST positive at study enrollment.
Methods
During a TB household contact study in Kampala, Uganda, PTST-, TSTC, and TST + individuals were identified. PTST- individuals maintained a negative TST over a 2 year observation period despite prolonged exposure to an infectious tuberculosis (TB) case. Epidemiological and clinical characteristics were compared, a risk score developed by another group to capture risk for Mtb infection was computed, and an ordinal regression was performed.
Results
When analyzed independently, epidemiological risk factors increased in prevalence from PTST- to TSTC to TST+. An ordinal regression model suggested age (p < 0.01), number of windows (p < 0.01) and people (p = 0.07) in the home, and sleeping in the same room (p < 0.01) were associated with PTST- and TSTC. As these factors do not exist in isolation, we examined a risk score, which reflects an accumulation of risk factors. This compound exposure score did not differ significantly between PTST-, TSTC, and TST+, except for the 5–15 age group (p = 0.009).
Conclusions
Though many individual factors differed across all three groups, an exposure risk score reflecting a collection of risk factors did not differ for PTST-, TSTC and TST + young children and adults. This is the first study to rigorously characterize the epidemiologic risk profile of individuals with persistently negative TSTs despite close exposure to a person with TB. Additional studies are needed to characterize possible epidemiologic and host factors associated with this phenotype.
doi:10.1186/1471-2334-14-352
PMCID: PMC4091673  PMID: 24970328
Transmission risk factors; Latent Mtb infection; Exposure; Household characteristics; PPD test
Purpose.
We investigated effects of smoking and other risk factors on the development of advanced Fuchs' endothelial corneal dystrophy (FECD) and on central corneal thickness (CCT).
Methods.
Eyes from Caucasian probands, affected and unaffected family members, and unrelated controls matched for age from the FECD Genetics Multi-Center Study (n = 2044 subjects) were examined. Univariate and multivariate models, adjusted for family correlations, were used to determine the effect of smoking, sex, diabetes, and age on FECD case/control status and CCT.
Results.
In a multivariate model, sex and smoking were associated significantly with advanced FECD (grades 4–6) development (P = 0.016 and P = 0.047, respectively). Female sex increased odds by 34%. Smoking increased odds by 30%. In a multivariate model, diabetes was associated with an increase of 9.1 μm in average CCT (P = 0.021). Female sex was associated significantly with a decrease in average CCT by 6.9 μm (P = 0.015). Smoking had no significant effect on CCT in any model. As shown previously, advanced FECD was associated with large increases in CCT (31.4–94.2 μm).
Conclusions.
Smoking was associated with an increased risk of advanced FECD and self-reported diabetes was associated with increased CCT. Further study of the impact of smoking and diabetes on FECD development and changes in corneal thickness is warranted.
This case-control analysis showed that smoking was associated significantly with advanced FECD development.
doi:10.1167/iovs.13-11918
PMCID: PMC3755540  PMID: 23882692
FECD; corneal endothelial cells; smoking
PLoS ONE  2013;8(12):e81888.
Objective
Estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR), a measure of kidney function, is heritable, suggesting that genes influence renal function. Genes that influence eGFR have been identified through genome-wide association studies. However, family-based linkage approaches may identify loci that explain a larger proportion of the heritability. This study used genome-wide linkage and association scans to identify quantitative trait loci (QTL) that influence eGFR.
Methods
Genome-wide linkage and sparse association scans of eGFR were performed in families ascertained by probands with advanced diabetic nephropathy (DN) from the multi-ethnic Family Investigation of Nephropathy and Diabetes (FIND) study. This study included 954 African Americans (AA), 781 American Indians (AI), 614 European Americans (EA) and 1,611 Mexican Americans (MA). A total of 3,960 FIND participants were genotyped for 6,000 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) using the Illumina Linkage IVb panel. GFR was estimated by the Modification of Diet in Renal Disease (MDRD) formula.
Results
The non-parametric linkage analysis, accounting for the effects of diabetes duration and BMI, identified the strongest evidence for linkage of eGFR on chromosome 20q11 (log of the odds [LOD] = 3.34; P = 4.4×10−5) in MA and chromosome 15q12 (LOD = 2.84; P = 1.5×10−4) in EA. In all subjects, the strongest linkage signal for eGFR was detected on chromosome 10p12 (P = 5.5×10−4) at 44 cM near marker rs1339048. A subsequent association scan in both ancestry-specific groups and the entire population identified several SNPs significantly associated with eGFR across the genome.
Conclusion
The present study describes the localization of QTL influencing eGFR on 20q11 in MA, 15q21 in EA and 10p12 in the combined ethnic groups participating in the FIND study. Identification of causal genes/variants influencing eGFR, within these linkage and association loci, will open new avenues for functional analyses and development of novel diagnostic markers for DN.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0081888
PMCID: PMC3866106  PMID: 24358131
Purpose.
To investigate genetic determinants of macular pigment optical density in women from the Carotenoids in Age-Related Eye Disease Study (CAREDS), an ancillary study of the Women's Health Initiative Observational Study.
Methods.
1585 of 2005 CAREDS participants had macular pigment optical density (MPOD) measured noninvasively using customized heterochromatic flicker photometry and blood samples genotyped for 440 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in 26 candidate genes related to absorption, transport, binding, and cleavage of carotenoids directly, or via lipid transport. SNPs were individually tested for associations with MPOD using least-squares linear regression.
Results.
Twenty-one SNPs from 11 genes were associated with MPOD (P ≤ 0.05) after adjusting for dietary intake of lutein and zeaxanthin. This includes variants in or near genes related to zeaxanthin binding in the macula (GSTP1), carotenoid cleavage (BCMO1), cholesterol transport or uptake (SCARB1, ABCA1, ABCG5, and LIPC), long-chain omega-3 fatty acid status (ELOVL2, FADS1, and FADS2), and various maculopathies (ALDH3A2 and RPE65). The strongest association was for rs11645428 near BCMO1 (βA = 0.029, P = 2.2 × 10−4). Conditional modeling within genes and further adjustment for other predictors of MPOD, including waist circumference, diabetes, and dietary intake of fiber, resulted in 13 SNPs from 10 genes maintaining independent association with MPOD. Variation in these single gene polymorphisms accounted for 5% of the variability in MPOD (P = 3.5 × 10−11).
Conclusions.
Our results support that MPOD is a multi-factorial phenotype associated with variation in genes related to carotenoid transport, uptake, and metabolism, independent of known dietary and health influences on MPOD.
In 1585 postmenopausal women of the Carotenoids in Age-Related Eye Disease Study sample, common genetic variants in or near genes involved in carotenoid transport, uptake, and metabolism were associated with density of lutein and zeaxanthin in the macula, independent of other known predictors, including dietary intake of carotenoids.
doi:10.1167/iovs.12-10867
PMCID: PMC3626525  PMID: 23404124
Verhoeven, Virginie J.M. | Hysi, Pirro G. | Wojciechowski, Robert | Fan, Qiao | Guggenheim, Jeremy A. | Höhn, René | MacGregor, Stuart | Hewitt, Alex W. | Nag, Abhishek | Cheng, Ching-Yu | Yonova-Doing, Ekaterina | Zhou, Xin | Ikram, M. Kamran | Buitendijk, Gabriëlle H.S. | McMahon, George | Kemp, John P. | St. Pourcain, Beate | Simpson, Claire L. | Mäkelä, Kari-Matti | Lehtimäki, Terho | Kähönen, Mika | Paterson, Andrew D. | Hosseini, S. Mohsen | Wong, Hoi Suen | Xu, Liang | Jonas, Jost B. | Pärssinen, Olavi | Wedenoja, Juho | Yip, Shea Ping | Ho, Daniel W. H. | Pang, Chi Pui | Chen, Li Jia | Burdon, Kathryn P. | Craig, Jamie E. | Klein, Barbara E. K. | Klein, Ronald | Haller, Toomas | Metspalu, Andres | Khor, Chiea-Chuen | Tai, E-Shyong | Aung, Tin | Vithana, Eranga | Tay, Wan-Ting | Barathi, Veluchamy A. | Chen, Peng | Li, Ruoying | Liao, Jiemin | Zheng, Yingfeng | Ong, Rick T. | Döring, Angela | Evans, David M. | Timpson, Nicholas J. | Verkerk, Annemieke J.M.H. | Meitinger, Thomas | Raitakari, Olli | Hawthorne, Felicia | Spector, Tim D. | Karssen, Lennart C. | Pirastu, Mario | Murgia, Federico | Ang, Wei | Mishra, Aniket | Montgomery, Grant W. | Pennell, Craig E. | Cumberland, Phillippa M. | Cotlarciuc, Ioana | Mitchell, Paul | Wang, Jie Jin | Schache, Maria | Janmahasathian, Sarayut | Igo, Robert P. | Lass, Jonathan H. | Chew, Emily | Iyengar, Sudha K. | Gorgels, Theo G.M.F. | Rudan, Igor | Hayward, Caroline | Wright, Alan F. | Polasek, Ozren | Vatavuk, Zoran | Wilson, James F. | Fleck, Brian | Zeller, Tanja | Mirshahi, Alireza | Müller, Christian | Uitterlinden, Andre’ G. | Rivadeneira, Fernando | Vingerling, Johannes R. | Hofman, Albert | Oostra, Ben A. | Amin, Najaf | Bergen, Arthur A.B. | Teo, Yik-Ying | Rahi, Jugnoo S. | Vitart, Veronique | Williams, Cathy | Baird, Paul N. | Wong, Tien-Yin | Oexle, Konrad | Pfeiffer, Norbert | Mackey, David A. | Young, Terri L. | van Duijn, Cornelia M. | Saw, Seang-Mei | Wilson, Joan E. Bailey | Stambolian, Dwight | Klaver, Caroline C. | Hammond, Christopher J.
Nature genetics  2013;45(3):314-318.
Refractive error is the most common eye disorder worldwide, and a prominent cause of blindness. Myopia affects over 30% of Western populations, and up to 80% of Asians. The CREAM consortium conducted genome-wide meta-analyses including 37,382 individuals from 27 studies of European ancestry, and 8,376 from 5 Asian cohorts. We identified 16 new loci for refractive error in subjects of European ancestry, of which 8 were shared with Asians. Combined analysis revealed 8 additional loci. The new loci include genes with functions in neurotransmission (GRIA4), ion channels (KCNQ5), retinoic acid metabolism (RDH5), extracellular matrix remodeling (LAMA2, BMP2), and eye development (SIX6, PRSS56). We also confirmed previously reported associations with GJD2 and RASGRF1. Risk score analysis using associated SNPs showed a tenfold increased risk of myopia for subjects with the highest genetic load. Our results, accumulated across independent multi-ethnic studies, considerably advance understanding of mechanisms involved in refractive error and myopia.
doi:10.1038/ng.2554
PMCID: PMC3740568  PMID: 23396134
Cornea  2012;31(1):26-35.
Purpose
To describe the methods for family and case-control recruitment for a multi-center genetic and associated heritability analysis of Fuchs’ Endothelial Corneal Dystrophy (FECD).
Methods
Twenty-nine enrolling sites with 62 trained investigators and coordinators gathered individual and family information, graded the phenotype, and collected blood and/or saliva for genetic analysis on all individuals with and without FECD. The degree of FECD was assessed in a 0–6 semi-quantitative scale using standardized clinical methods with pathologic verification of FECD on at least one member of each family. Central corneal thickness was measured by ultrasonic pachymetry.
Results
Three hundred twenty-two families with 330 affected sibling pairs with FECD were enrolled, and included a total of 650 sibling pairs of all disease grades. Using the entire 0–6 step FECD grading scale or a dichotomous definition of severe disease, heritability was assessed in families via sib-sib correlations. Both binary indicators of severe disease as well as semi-quantitative measures of disease severity were significantly heritable, with heritability estimates of 30% for severe disease, 37–39% for FECD score and 47% for central corneal thickness.
Conclusion
Genetic risk factors have a strong role in the severity of the FECD phenotype and corneal thickness. Genotyping this cohort with high-density genetic markers followed by appropriate statistical analyses should lead to novel loci for disease susceptibility.
doi:10.1097/ICO.0b013e31821c9b8f
PMCID: PMC3719980  PMID: 22045388
heritability; Fuchs’ dystrophy; corneal thickness; genetics
PLoS ONE  2012;7(10):e46742.
Fuchs endothelial corneal dystrophy (FECD) is the most common late-onset, vision-threatening corneal dystrophy in the United States, affecting about 4% of the population. Advanced FECD involves a thickening of the cornea from stromal edema and changes in Descemet membrane. To understand the relationship between FECD and central corneal thickness (CCT), we characterized common genetic variation in COL8A2 and TCF4, genes previously implicated in CCT and/or FECD. Other genes previously associated with FECD (PITX2, ZEB1, SLC4A11), and genes only known to affect CCT (COL5A1, FOXO1, AVGR8, ZNF469) were also interrogated. FECD probands, relatives and controls were recruited from 32 clinical sites; a total of 532 cases and 204 controls were genotyped and tested for association of FECD case/control status, a 7-step FECD severity scale and CCT, adjusting for age and sex. Association of FECD grade with TCF4 was highly significant (OR  = 6.01 at rs613872; p = 4.8×10−25), and remained significant when adjusted for changes in CCT (OR  = 4.84; p = 2.2×10−16). Association of CCT with TCF4 was also significant (p = 6.1×10−7), but was abolished with adjustment for FECD grade (p = 0.92). After adjusting for FECD grade, markers in other genes examined were modestly associated (p ∼ 0.001) with FECD and/or CCT. Thus, common variants in TCF4 appear to influence FECD directly, and CCT secondarily via FECD. Additionally, changes in corneal thickness due to the effect of other loci may modify disease severity, age-at-onset, or other biomechanical characteristics.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0046742
PMCID: PMC3479099  PMID: 23110055
Genes and Immunity  2010;11(8):609-621.
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the leading cause of blindness in the elderly in the developed world. We conducted a genome-wide association study in a series of families enriched for AMD and completed a meta-analysis of this new data with results from reanalysis of an existing study of a late-stage case/control cohort. We tested the top findings for replication in 1 896 cases and 1 866 controls and identified two novel genetic protective factors for AMD. In addition to the CFH (p=2.3×10−64) and ARMS2 (p=1.2×10−60) loci, we observed a protective effect at rs429608, an intronic SNP in SKIV2L (p=5.3×10−15), a gene near the C2/BF locus, that indicates the protective effect may be mediated by variants other than the C2/BF variants previously studied. Haplotype analysis at this locus identified three protective haplotypes defined by the rs429608 protective allele. We also identified a new potentially protective effect at rs2679798 in MYRIP (p=2.9×10−4), a gene involved in retinal pigment epithelium melanosome trafficking. Interestingly, MYRIP was initially identified in the family-based scan and was confirmed in the case-control set. From these efforts, we report the identification of two novel protective factors for AMD and confirm the previously known associations at CFH, ARMS2 and C3.
doi:10.1038/gene.2010.39
PMCID: PMC3375062  PMID: 20861866
macular degeneration; association testing; melanosome trafficking
American Journal of Nephrology  2011;33(5):381-389.
Background
Diabetic nephropathy (DN) is a leading cause of mortality and morbidity in patients with type 1 and type 2 diabetes. The multicenter FIND consortium aims to identify genes for DN and its associated quantitative traits, e.g. the urine albumin:creatinine ratio (ACR). Herein, the results of whole-genome linkage analysis and a sparse association scan for ACR and a dichotomous DN phenotype are reported in diabetic individuals.
Methods
A genomewide scan comprising more than 5,500 autosomal single nucleotide polymorphism markers (average spacing of 0.6 cM) was performed on 1,235 nuclear and extended pedigrees (3,972 diabetic participants) ascertained for DN from African-American (AA), American-Indian (AI), European-American (EA) and Mexican-American (MA) populations.
Results
Strong evidence for linkage to DN was detected on chromosome 6p (p = 8.0 × 10−5, LOD = 3.09) in EA families as well as suggestive evidence for linkage to chromosome 7p in AI families. Regions on chromosomes 3p in AA, 7q in EA, 16q in AA and 22q in MA displayed suggestive evidence of linkage for urine ACR. The linkage peak on chromosome 22q overlaps the MYH9/APOL1 gene region, previously implicated in AA diabetic and nondiabetic nephropathies.
Conclusion
These results strengthen the evidence for previously identified genomic regions and implicate several novel loci potentially involved in the pathogenesis of DN.
doi:10.1159/000326763
PMCID: PMC3078269  PMID: 21454968
Albuminuria; Diabetes mellitus; Renal failure; End-stage renal disease; Linkage; Allelic association
Human immunology  2011;72(5):426-430.
Tuberculosis (TB), caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb), causes 9 million new cases worldwide and 2 million deaths annually. Genetic linkage and association analyses have suggested several chromosomal regions and candidate genes involved in TB susceptibility. This study examines the association of TB disease susceptibility with a selection of biologically relevant genes on regions on chromosomes 7 (IL6 and CARD11) and 20 (CTSZ and MC3R), and fine mapping of the chromosome 7p22-p21 region, identified through our genome scan. We analyzed 565 individuals from Kampala, Uganda who were previously included in our genome-wide linkage scan. Association analyses were conducted for 1417 single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) that passed quality control. None of the candidate gene or fine mapping SNPs were found significantly associated with TB susceptibility (P > 0.10). When we restricted the analysis to HIV-negative individuals, two SNPs on chromosome 7 were significantly associated with TB susceptibility (P < 0.05). Haplotype analyses identified a significant risk haplotype in Cathepsin X (CTSZ) (p=0.0281, OR = 1.5493, 95% CI [1.039, 2.320]).
doi:10.1016/j.humimm.2011.02.016
PMCID: PMC3078986  PMID: 21354459
infectious disease; family study; TB genetics; fine map; immunogenetics
PLoS ONE  2011;6(10):e25598.
Complement factor H shows very strong association with Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD), and recent data suggest that multiple causal variants are associated with disease. To refine the location of the disease associated variants, we characterized in detail the structural variation at CFH and its paralogs, including two copy number polymorphisms (CNP), CNP147 and CNP148, and several rare deletions and duplications. Examination of 34 AMD-enriched extended families (N = 293) and AMD cases (White N = 4210 Indian = 134; Malay = 140) and controls (White N = 3229; Indian = 117; Malay = 2390) demonstrated that deletion CNP148 was protective against AMD, independent of SNPs at CFH. Regression analysis of seven common haplotypes showed three haplotypes, H1, H6 and H7, as conferring risk for AMD development. Being the most common haplotype H1 confers the greatest risk by increasing the odds of AMD by 2.75-fold (95% CI = [2.51, 3.01]; p = 8.31×10−109); Caucasian (H6) and Indian-specific (H7) recombinant haplotypes increase the odds of AMD by 1.85-fold (p = 3.52×10−9) and by 15.57-fold (P = 0.007), respectively. We identified a 32-kb region downstream of Y402H (rs1061170), shared by all three risk haplotypes, suggesting that this region may be critical for AMD development. Further analysis showed that two SNPs within the 32 kb block, rs1329428 and rs203687, optimally explain disease association. rs1329428 resides in 20 kb unique sequence block, but rs203687 resides in a 12 kb block that is 89% similar to a noncoding region contained in ΔCNP148. We conclude that causal variation in this region potentially encompasses both regulatory effects at single markers and copy number.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0025598
PMCID: PMC3192039  PMID: 22022419
Human genetics  2010;127(6):705-719.
Familial combined hyperlipidemia (FCHL) is a complex trait leading to cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk. Elevated levels and size of apolipoprotein B (apoB) and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) are associated with FCHL, which is genetically heterogeneous and is likely caused by rare variants. We carried out a linkage-based genome scan of four large FCHL pedigrees for apoB level that is independent of LDL: apoB level that is adjusted for LDL level and size. Follow-up included SNP genotyping in the region with the strongest evidence of linkage. Several regions with the evidence of linkage in individual pedigrees support the rare variant model. Evidence of linkage was strongest on chromosome 4q, with multipoint analysis in one pedigree giving LOD = 3.1 with a parametric model, and a log Bayes Factor = 1.5 from a Bayesian oligogenic approach. Of the 293 SNPs spanning the implicated region on 4q, rs6829588 completely explained the evidence of linkage. This SNP accounted for 39% of the apoB phenotypic variance, with heterozygotes for this SNP having a trait value that was ~30% higher than that of the high-frequency homozygote, thus identifying and considerably refining a strong candidate region. These results illustrate the advantage of using large pedigrees in the search for rare variants: reduced genetic heterogeneity within single pedigrees coupled with the large number of individuals segregating otherwise-rare single variants leads to high power to implicate such variants.
doi:10.1007/s00439-010-0819-2
PMCID: PMC2877194  PMID: 20383777
BMC Medical Genetics  2011;12:14.
Background
Abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) is a complex disorder with multiple genetic risk factors. Using affected relative pair linkage analysis, we previously identified an AAA susceptibility locus on chromosome 19q13. This locus has been designated as the AAA1 susceptibility locus in the Online Mendelian Inheritance in Man (OMIM) database.
Methods
Nine candidate genes were selected from the AAA1 locus based on their function, as well as mRNA expression levels in the aorta. A sample of 394 cases and 419 controls was genotyped for 41 SNPs located in or around the selected nine candidate genes using the Illumina GoldenGate platform. Single marker and haplotype analyses were performed. Three genes (CEBPG, PEPD and CD22) were selected for DNA sequencing based on the association study results, and exonic regions were analyzed. Immunohistochemical staining of aortic tissue sections from AAA and control individuals was carried out for the CD22 and PEPD proteins with specific antibodies.
Results
Several SNPs were nominally associated with AAA (p < 0.05). The SNPs with most significant p-values were located near the CCAAT enhancer binding protein (CEBPG), peptidase D (PEPD), and CD22. Haplotype analysis found a nominally associated 5-SNP haplotype in the CEBPG/PEPD locus, as well as a nominally associated 2-SNP haplotype in the CD22 locus. DNA sequencing of the coding regions revealed no variation in CEBPG. Seven sequence variants were identified in PEPD, including three not present in the NCBI SNP (dbSNP) database. Sequencing of all 14 exons of CD22 identified 20 sequence variants, five of which were in the coding region and six were in the 3'-untranslated region. Five variants were not present in dbSNP. Immunohistochemical staining for CD22 revealed protein expression in lymphocytes present in the aneurysmal aortic wall only and no detectable expression in control aorta. PEPD protein was expressed in fibroblasts and myofibroblasts in the media-adventitia border in both aneurysmal and non-aneurysmal tissue samples.
Conclusions
Association testing of the functional positional candidate genes on the AAA1 locus on chromosome 19q13 demonstrated nominal association in three genes. PEPD and CD22 were considered the most promising candidate genes for altering AAA risk, based on gene function, association evidence, gene expression, and protein expression.
doi:10.1186/1471-2350-12-14
PMCID: PMC3037298  PMID: 21247474
Background
Previous studies have shown that, in addition to environmental influences, type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) has a strong genetic component. The goal of the current study is to identify regions of linkage for T2DM in ethnically diverse populations.
Methods
Phenotypic and genotypic data were obtained from African American (AA; total number of individuals (N)=1004), American Indian (AI; N=883), European American (EA; N=537), and Mexican American (MA; N=1634) individuals from the Family Investigation of Nephropathy and Diabetes. Nonparametric linkage analysis, using an average of 4,404 SNPs, was performed in relative pairs affected with T2DM in each ethnic group. In addition, family-based tests were performed to detect association with T2DM.
Results
Statistically significant evidence for linkage was observed on chromosomes 4q21.1 (LOD=3.13; genome-wide p=0.04) in AA. In addition, a total of eleven regions showed suggestive evidence for linkage (estimated at LOD>1.71), with the highest LOD scores on chromosomes 12q21.31 (LOD=2.02) and 22q12.3 (LOD=2.38) in AA, 2p11.1 (LOD=2.23) in AI, 6p12.3 (LOD=2.77) in EA, and 13q21.1 (LOD=2.24) in MA. While no region overlapped across all ethnic groups, at least five loci showing LOD>1.71 have been identified in previously published studies.
Conclusions
The results from this study provide evidence for the presence of genes affecting T2DM on chromosomes 4q, 12q, and 22q in AA, 6p in EA, 2p in AI, and 13q in MA. The strong evidence for linkage on chromosome 4q in AA provides important information given the paucity of diabetes genetic studies in this population.
doi:10.1002/dmrr.1031
PMCID: PMC2783577  PMID: 19795399
FIND; Type 2 Diabetes; linkage analysis; ethnicity
Genetic epidemiology  2009;33(7):604-616.
Intermediate fine mapping has received considerable attention recently, with the goal of providing statistically precise and valid chromosomal regions for fine mapping following initial identification of broad regions that are linked to a disease. The following classes of methods have been proposed and compared in the literature: (1) LOD-support intervals, (2) Generalized estimating equations, (3) Bootstrap, (4) Confidence set inference framework. These methods provide confidence intervals either with coverage levels deviating from the nominal confidence levels or that are not fully efficient. Here, we propose a novel Bayesian method for constructing such intervals using affected sibling pair data. The susceptibility gene location is treated as a parameter in this method, with a uniform prior. A Metropolis-Hastings algorithm is implemented to sample from the posterior distribution and Highest Posterior Density Intervals of the disease gene locations are constructed. Correct coverage levels are maintained by our method. Both simulation studies and an application to a Rheumatoid Arthritis dataset demonstrate the improved efficiency of the Bayesian intervals compared with existing methods.
doi:10.1002/gepi.20412
PMCID: PMC2766027  PMID: 19194982
BILL; disease gene localization; intermediate fine mapping; model-free linkage
Genetic epidemiology  2009;33(1):16-26.
Haplotypes of closely linked single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) potentially offer greater power than individual SNPs to detect association between genetic variants and disease. We present a novel approach for association mapping in which density-based clustering of haplotypes reduces the dimensionality of the general linear model (GLM)-based score test of association implemented in the HaploStats software. A flexible haplotype similarity score, a generalization of previously used measures, forms the basis for grouping haplotypes of probable recent common ancestry. All haplotypes within a cluster are assigned the same regression coefficient within the GLM, and evidence for association is assessed with a score statistic. The approach is applicable to both binary and continuous trait data, and does not require prior phase information. Results of simulation studies demonstrated that clustering enhanced the power of the score test to detect association, under a variety of conditions, while preserving valid Type-I error. Improvement in performance was most dramatic in the presence of extreme haplotype diversity, while a slight improvement was observed even at low diversity. Our method also offers, for binary traits, a slight advantage in power over a similar approach based on an evolutionary model.
doi:10.1002/gepi.20352
PMCID: PMC2952426  PMID: 18561202
fine mapping; linkage disequilibrium; high-density SNP genotypes
Behavior genetics  2008;38(5):462-475.
To understand the genetic architecture of dyslexia and identify the locations of genes involved, we performed linkage analyses in multigenerational families using a phonological memory phenotype—Nonword Repetition (NWR). A genome scan was first performed on 438 people from 51 families (DS-1) and linkage was assessed using variance components (VC), Bayesian oligogenic (BO), and parametric analyses. For replication, the genome scan and analyses were repeated on 693 people from 93 families (DS-2). For the combined set (DS-C), analyses were performed with all three methods in the regions that were identified in both samples. In DS-1, regions on chromosomes 4p, 6q, 12p, 17q, and 22q exceeded our initial threshold for linkage, with 17q providing a parametric LOD score of 3.2. Analysis with DS-2 confirmed the locations on chromosomes 4p and 12p. The strongest VC and BO signals in both samples were on chromosome 4p in DS-C, with a parametric multipoint LODmax of 2.36 for the 4p locus. Our linkage analyses of NWR in dyslexia provide suggestive and reproducible evidence for linkage to 4p12 and 12p in both samples, and significant evidence for linkage to 17q in one of the samples. These results warrant further studies of phonological memory and chromosomal regions identified here in other datasets.
doi:10.1007/s10519-008-9215-2
PMCID: PMC2853749  PMID: 18607713
Genetic linkage analysis; Nonword repetition; Dyslexia; Complex genetics
PURPOSE
Diabetic retinopathy (DR) and diabetic nephropathy (DN) are serious microvascular complications of diabetes mellitus. Correlations between severity of DR and DN and computed heritability estimates for DR were determined in a large, multiethnic sample of diabetic families. The hypothesis was that (1) the severity of DR correlates with the presence and severity of nephropathy in individuals with diabetes mellitus, and (2) the severity of DR is under significant familial influence in members of multiplex diabetic families.
METHODS
The Family Investigation of Nephropathy and Diabetes (FIND) was designed to evaluate the genetic basis of DN in American Indians, European Americans, African Americans, and Mexican Americans. FIND enrolled probands with advanced DN, along with their diabetic siblings who were concordant and discordant for nephropathy. These diabetic family members were invited to participate in the FIND-Eye study to determine whether inherited factors underlie susceptibility to DR and its severity. FIND-Eye participants underwent eye examinations and had fundus photographs taken. The severity of DR was graded by using the Early Treatment Diabetic Retinopathy Study Classification (ETDRS). Sib–sib correlations were calculated with the SAGE 5.0 program FCOR, to estimate heritability of retinopathy severity.
RESULTS
This report summarizes the results for the first 2368 diabetic subjects from 767 families enrolled in FIND-Eye; nearly 50% were Mexican American, the largest single ethnicity within FIND. The overall prevalence of DR was high; 33.4% had proliferative DR; 7.5%, 22.8%, and 9.5% had severe, moderate, and mild nonproliferative DR, respectively; 26.6% had no DR. The severity of DR was significantly associated with severity of DN, both by phenotypic category and by increasing serum creatinine concentration (χ2 = 658.14, df = 20; P < 0.0001). The sib–sib correlation for DR severity was 0.1358 in the total sample and 0.1224 when limited to the Mexican-American sample. Broad sense heritabilities for DR were 27% overall and 24% in Mexican-American families. The polygenic heritability of liability for proliferative DR approximated 25% in this FIND-Eye sample.
CONCLUSIONS
These data confirm that the severity of DR parallels the presence and severity of nephropathy in individuals with diabetes mellitus. The severity of DR in members of multiplex diabetic families appears to have a significant familial connection.
doi:10.1167/iovs.07-1633
PMCID: PMC2583147  PMID: 18765632
Dyslexia is a common learning disability exhibited as a delay in acquiring reading skills despite adequate intelligence and instruction. Reading single real words (real-word reading, RWR) is especially impaired in many dyslexics. We performed a genome scan, using variance-components (VC) linkage analysis and Bayesian Markov chain Monte Carlo (MCMC) joint segregation and linkage analysis, for three quantitative measures of RWR in 108 multigenerational families, with followup of the strongest signals with parametric LOD score analyses. We used single-word reading efficiency (SWE) to assess speed and accuracy of RWR, and word identification (WID) to assess accuracy alone. Adjusting SWE for WID provided a third measure of RWR efficiency.
All three methods of analysis identified a strong linkage signal for SWE on chromosome 13q. Based on multipoint analysis with 13 markers we obtained a MCMC intensity ratio of 53.2 (chromosome-wide p < 0.004), a VC LOD score of 2.29, and a parametric LOD score of 2.94, based on a quantitative-trait model from MCMC segregation analysis. A weaker signal for SWE on chromosome 2q occurred in the same location as a significant linkage peak seen previously in a scan for phonological decoding. MCMC oligogenic segregation analysis identified three models of transmission for WID, which could be assigned to two distinct linkage peaks on chromosomes 12 and 15. Taken together, these results indicate a locus for efficiency and accuracy of RWR on chromosome 13, and a complex model for inheritance of RWR accuracy with loci on chromosomes 12 and 15.
doi:10.1002/ajmg.b.30245
PMCID: PMC2556979  PMID: 16331673
reading disability; linkage analysis; complex disorder; chromosome 13
BMC Proceedings  2007;1(Suppl 1):S27.
Clustering of related haplotypes in haplotype-based association mapping has the potential to improve power by reducing the degrees of freedom without sacrificing important information about the underlying genetic structure. We have modified a generalized linear model approach for association analysis by incorporating a density-based clustering algorithm to reduce the number of coefficients in the model. Using the GAW 15 Problem 3 simulated data, we show that our novel method can substantially enhance power to detect association with the binary rheumatoid arthritis (RA) phenotype at the HLA-DRB1 locus on chromosome 6. In contrast, clustering did not appreciably improve performance at locus D, perhaps a consequence of a rare susceptibility allele and of the overwhelming effect of HLA-DRB1/locus C, 5 cM distal. Optimization of parameters governing the clustering algorithm identified a set of parameters that delivered nearly ideal performance in a variety of situations. The cluster-based score test was valid over a wide range of haplotype diversity, and was robust to severe departures from Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium encountered near HLA-DRB1 in RA case-control samples.
PMCID: PMC2367537  PMID: 18466524

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