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1.  Association between functional polymorphisms in genes involved in the MAPK signaling pathways and cutaneous melanoma risk 
Carcinogenesis  2013;34(4):885-892.
Genome-wide association studies (GWASs) have mainly focused on top significant single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), most of which did not have clear biological functions but were just surrogates for unknown causal variants. Studying SNPs with modest association and putative functions in biologically plausible pathways has become one complementary approach to GWASs. To unravel the key roles of mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) pathways in cutaneous melanoma (CM) risk, we re-evaluated the associations between 47 818 SNPs in 280 MAPK genes and CM risk using our published GWAS dataset with 1804 CM cases and 1026 controls. We initially found 105 SNPs with P ≤ 0.001, more than expected by chance, 26 of which were predicted to be putatively functional SNPs. The risk associations with 16 SNPs around DUSP14 (rs1051849) and a previous reported melanoma locus MAFF/PLA2G6 (proxy SNP rs4608623) were replicated in the GenoMEL dataset (P < 0.01) but failed in the Australian dataset. Meta-analysis showed that rs1051849 in the 3ʹ untranslated regions of DUSP14 was associated with a reduced risk of melanoma (odds ratio = 0.89, 95% confidence interval: 0.82–0.96, P = 0.003, false discovery rate = 0.056). Further genotype–phenotype correlation analysis using the 90 HapMap lymphoblastoid cell lines from Caucasians showed significant correlations between two SNPs (rs1051849 and rs4608623) and messenger RNA expression levels of DUSP14 and MAFF (P = 0.025 and P = 0.010, respectively). Gene-based tests also revealed significant SNPs were over-represented in MAFF, PLA2G6, DUSP14 and other 16 genes. Our results suggest that functional SNPs in MAPK pathways may contribute to CM risk. Further studies are warranted to validate our findings.
doi:10.1093/carcin/bgs407
PMCID: PMC3616673  PMID: 23291271
2.  Association between in vivo alcohol metabolism and genetic variation in pathways that metabolize the carbon skeleton of ethanol and NADH reoxidation in the Alcohol Challenge Twin Study 
Background
Variation in alcohol metabolism affects the duration of intoxication and alcohol use. While the majority of genetic association studies investigating variation in alcohol metabolism have focused on polymorphisms in alcohol or aldehyde dehydrogenases, we have now tested for association with genes in alternative metabolic pathways that catalyze the carbon skeleton of ethanol and NADH reoxidation.
Methods
950 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) spanning 14 genes (ACN9, ACSS1, ACSS2, ALDH1A1, CAT, CYP2E1, GOT1, GOT2, MDH1, MDH2, SLC25A10, SLC25A11, SLC25A12, SLC25A13) were genotyped in 352 young adults who participated in an alcohol challenge study. Traits tested were blood and breath alcohol concentration, peak alcohol concentration and rates of alcohol absorption and elimination. Allelic association was tested using quantitative univariate and multivariate methods.
Results
A CYP2E1 promoter SNP (rs4838767, minor allele frequency 0.008) exceeded the threshold for study-wide significance (4.01 × 10−5) for two early blood alcohol concentration (BAC), eight breath alcohol concentration (BrAC) measures and the peak BrAC. For each phenotype the minor C-allele was related to a lower alcohol concentration, most strongly for the fourth BrAC (P = 2.07 × 10−7) explaining ~8% of the phenotypic variance. We also observed suggestive patterns of association with variants in ALDH1A1 and on chromosome 17 near SLC25A11 for aspects of blood and breath alcohol metabolism. A SNP upstream of GOT1 (rs2490286) reached study-wide significance for multivariate BAC metabolism (P = 0.000040).
Conclusions
Overall, we did not find strong evidence that variation in genes coding for proteins that further metabolize the carbon backbone of acetaldehyde, or contribute to mechanisms for regenerating NAD from NADH, affects alcohol metabolism in our European-descent subjects. However, based on the breath alcohol data, variation in the promoter of CYP2E1 may play a role in pre-absorptive or early hepatic alcohol metabolism, but more samples are required to validate this finding.
doi:10.1111/j.1530-0277.2012.01829.x
PMCID: PMC3729587  PMID: 22577853
alcohol metabolism; association; genetics; CYP2E1; alcohol challenge
3.  A variant in FTO shows association with melanoma risk not due to BMI 
Iles, Mark M | Law, Matthew H | Stacey, Simon N | Han, Jiali | Fang, Shenying | Pfeiffer, Ruth | Harland, Mark | MacGregor, Stuart | Taylor, John C | Aben, Katja K | Akslen, Lars A | Avril, Marie-Françoise | Azizi, Esther | Bakker, Bert | Benediktsdottir, Kristrun R | Bergman, Wilma | Scarrà, Giovanna Bianchi | Brown, Kevin M | Calista, Donato | Chaudru, Valerié | Fargnoli, Maria Concetta | Cust, Anne E | Demenais, Florence | de Waal, Anne C | Dębniak, Tadeusz | Elder, David E | Friedman, Eitan | Galan, Pilar | Ghiorzo, Paola | Gillanders, Elizabeth M | Goldstein, Alisa M | Gruis, Nelleke A | Hansson, Johan | Helsing, Per | Hočevar, Marko | Höiom, Veronica | Hopper, John L | Ingvar, Christian | Janssen, Marjolein | Jenkins, Mark A | Kanetsky, Peter A | Kiemeney, Lambertus A | Lang, Julie | Lathrop, G Mark | Leachman, Sancy | Lee, Jeffrey E | Lubiński, Jan | Mackie, Rona M | Mann, Graham J | Mayordomo, Jose I | Molven, Anders | Mulder, Suzanne | Nagore, Eduardo | Novaković, Srdjan | Okamoto, Ichiro | Olafsson, Jon H | Olsson, Håkan | Pehamberger, Hubert | Peris, Ketty | Grasa, Maria Pilar | Planelles, Dolores | Puig, Susana | Puig-Butille, Joan Anton | Randerson-Moor, Juliette | Requena, Celia | Rivoltini, Licia | Rodolfo, Monica | Santinami, Mario | Sigurgeirsson, Bardur | Snowden, Helen | Song, Fengju | Sulem, Patrick | Thorisdottir, Kristin | Tuominen, Rainer | Van Belle, Patricia | van der Stoep, Nienke | van Rossum, Michelle M | Wei, Qingyi | Wendt, Judith | Zelenika, Diana | Zhang, Mingfeng | Landi, Maria Teresa | Thorleifsson, Gudmar | Bishop, D Timothy | Amos, Christopher I | Hayward, Nicholas K | Stefansson, Kari | Bishop, Julia A Newton | Barrett, Jennifer H
Nature genetics  2013;45(4):428-432.
We report the results of an association study of melanoma based on the genome-wide imputation of the genotypes of 1,353 cases and 3,566 controls of European origin conducted by the GenoMEL consortium. This revealed a novel association between several single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in intron 8 of the FTO gene, including rs16953002, which replicated using 12,313 cases and 55,667 controls of European ancestry from Europe, the USA and Australia (combined p=3.6×10−12, per-allele OR for A=1.16). As well as identifying a novel melanoma susceptibility locus, this is the first study to identify and replicate an association with SNPs in FTO not related to body mass index (BMI). These SNPs are not in intron 1 (the BMI-related region) and show no association with BMI. This suggests FTO’s function may be broader than the existing paradigm that FTO variants influence multiple traits only through their associations with BMI and obesity.
doi:10.1038/ng.2571
PMCID: PMC3640814  PMID: 23455637
4.  Genome-wide meta-analyses of multi-ethnic cohorts identify multiple new susceptibility loci for refractive error and myopia 
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
5.  Identification of a Candidate Gene for Astigmatism 
Purpose.
Astigmatism is a common refractive error that reduces vision, where the curvature and refractive power of the cornea in one meridian are less than those of the perpendicular axis. It is a complex trait likely to be influenced by both genetic and environmental factors. Twin studies of astigmatism have found approximately 60% of phenotypic variance is explained by genetic factors. This study aimed to identify susceptibility loci for astigmatism.
Methods.
We performed a meta-analysis of seven genome-wide association studies that included 22,100 individuals of European descent, where astigmatism was defined as the number of diopters of cylinder prescription, using fixed effect inverse variance-weighted methods.
Results.
A susceptibility locus was identified with lead single nucleotide polymorphism rs3771395 on chromosome 2p13.3 (meta-analysis, P = 1.97 × 10−7) in the VAX2 gene. VAX2 plays an important role in the development of the dorsoventral axis of the eye. Animal studies have shown a gradient in astigmatism along the vertical plane, with corresponding changes in refraction, particularly in the ventral field.
Conclusions.
This finding advances the understanding of refractive error, and provides new potential pathways to be evaluated with regard to the development of astigmatism.
We identified a new susceptibility locus in the VAX2 gene, which is involved in the development of the ventral eye. This finding may allow new insights into astigmatism and advance the understanding of refractive error.
doi:10.1167/iovs.12-10463
PMCID: PMC3576051  PMID: 23322567
6.  A genome-wide analysis of 'Bounty' descendants implicates several novel variants in migraine susceptibility 
Neurogenetics  2012;13(3):261-266.
Migraine is a common neurological disease with a complex genetic aetiology. The disease affects ~12% of the Caucasian population and females are three times more likely than males to be diagnosed. In an effort to identify loci involved in migraine susceptibility, we performed a pedigree-based genome-wide association study of the isolated population of Norfolk Island, which has a high prevalence of migraine. This unique population originates from a small number of British and Polynesian founders who are descendents of the Bounty mutiny and forms a very large multigenerational pedigree (Bellis et al.; Human Genetics, 124(5):543–5542, 2008). These population genetic features may facilitate disease gene mapping strategies (Peltonen et al.; Nat Rev Genet, 1(3):182–90, 2000. In this study, we identified a high heritability of migraine in the Norfolk Island population (h2=0.53, P=0.016). We performed a pedigree-based GWAS and utilised a statistical and pathological prioritisation approach to implicate a number of variants in migraine. An SNP located in the zinc finger protein 555 (ZNF555) gene (rs4807347) showed evidence of statistical association in our Norfolk Island pedigree (P=9.6×10−6) as well as replication in a large independent and unrelated cohort with >500 migraineurs. In addition, we utilised a biological prioritisation to implicate four SNPs, in within the ADARB2 gene, two SNPs within the GRM7 gene and a single SNP in close proximity to a HTR7 gene. Association of SNPs within these neurotransmitter-related genes suggests a disrupted serotoninergic system that is perhaps specific to the Norfolk Island pedigree, but that might provide clues to understanding migraine more generally.
doi:10.1007/s10048-012-0325-x
PMCID: PMC3604878  PMID: 22678113
Migraine; Association; Gene
7.  Association between putative functional variants in the PSMB9 gene and risk of melanoma - re-analysis of published melanoma genome-wide association studies 
Pigment cell & melanoma research  2013;26(3):392-401.
Summary
To mine possibly hidden causal single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the etiology of melanoma, we investigated the association of SNPs in 76 M/G1 transition genes with melanoma risk using our published genome-wide association study (GWAS) dataset with 1804 melanoma cases and 1,026 cancer-free controls. We found multiple SNPs with P < 0.01 and performed validation studies for 18 putative functional SNPs in PSMB9 in other two GWAS datasets. Two SNPs (rs1351383 and rs2127675) were associated with melanoma risk in the GenoMEL dataset (P = 0.013 and 0.004, respectively), but failed validation in the Australia dataset. Genotype-phenotype analysis revealed these two SNPs were significantly correlated with mRNA expression levels of PSMB9. Further experiments revealed that the promoter SNP rs2071480, which is in high LD with rs1351383 and rs2127675, involved in influencing transcription factor binding and gene expression. Taken together, our data suggested that functional variants in PSMB9 may contribute to melanoma susceptibility.
doi:10.1111/pcmr.12069
PMCID: PMC3721546  PMID: 23360169
GWAS; Cell cycle; PSMB9; Polymorphism; melanoma
8.  Genetic Loci for Retinal Arteriolar Microcirculation 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(6):e65804.
Narrow arterioles in the retina have been shown to predict hypertension as well as other vascular diseases, likely through an increase in the peripheral resistance of the microcirculatory flow. In this study, we performed a genome-wide association study in 18,722 unrelated individuals of European ancestry from the Cohorts for Heart and Aging Research in Genomic Epidemiology consortium and the Blue Mountain Eye Study, to identify genetic determinants associated with variations in retinal arteriolar caliber. Retinal vascular calibers were measured on digitized retinal photographs using a standardized protocol. One variant (rs2194025 on chromosome 5q14 near the myocyte enhancer factor 2C MEF2C gene) was associated with retinal arteriolar caliber in the meta-analysis of the discovery cohorts at genome-wide significance of P-value <5×10−8. This variant was replicated in an additional 3,939 individuals of European ancestry from the Australian Twins Study and Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (rs2194025, P-value = 2.11×10−12 in combined meta-analysis of discovery and replication cohorts). In independent studies of modest sample sizes, no significant association was found between this variant and clinical outcomes including coronary artery disease, stroke, myocardial infarction or hypertension. In conclusion, we found one novel loci which underlie genetic variation in microvasculature which may be relevant to vascular disease. The relevance of these findings to clinical outcomes remains to be determined.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0065804
PMCID: PMC3680438  PMID: 23776548
9.  Genetic Variants near PDGFRA Are Associated with Corneal Curvature in Australians 
Purpose.
Irregularity in the corneal curvature (CC) is highly associated with various eye disorders such as keratoconus and myopia. The sample had limited power to find genomewide significant (5 × 10−8) hits but good power for replication. Thus, an attempt was made to test whether alleles in the FRAP1 and PDGFRA genes, recently found to be associated with CC in Asian populations, also influence CC in Australians of North European ancestry. Results of initial genomewide association studies (GWAS) for CC in Australians were also reported.
Methods.
Two population-based cohorts of 1788 Australian twins and their families, as well as 1013 individuals from a birth cohort from Western Australia, were genotyped using genomewide arrays. Following separate individual analysis and quality control, the results from each cohort underwent meta-analysis.
Results.
Meta-analysis revealed significant replication of association between rs2114039 and corneal curvature (P = 0.0045). The SNP rs2114039 near PDGFRA has been previously implicated in Asians. No SNP at the FRAP1 locus was found to be associated in our Australian samples. No SNP surpassed the genomewide significance threshold of 5 × 10−8. The SNP with strongest association was rs2444240 (P = 3.658 × 10−7), which is 31 kb upstream to the TRIM29 gene.
Conclusions.
A significant role of the PDGFRA gene in determining corneal curvature in the Australian population was confirmed in this study, also highlighting the putative association of the TRIM29 locus with CC.
Corneal curvature (CC) is a risk factor for various vision disorders including keratoconus and myopia. This study reports association of the PDGFRA gene with CC in the Australian population, which was previously found to be associated in an Asian population. It also reports initial GWAS findings on CC in Australians.
doi:10.1167/iovs.12-10489
PMCID: PMC3471606  PMID: 22969067
10.  Genome-wide association meta-analysis identifies new endometriosis risk loci 
Nature genetics  2012;44(12):1355-1359.
We conducted a genome-wide association (GWA) meta-analysis of 4,604 endometriosis cases and 9,393 controls of Japanese1 and European2 ancestry. We show that rs12700667 on chromosome 7p15.2, previously found in Europeans, replicates in Japanese (P = 3.6 × 10−3), and confirm association of rs7521902 on 1p36.12 near WNT4. In addition, we establish association of rs13394619 in GREB1 on 2p25.1 and identify a novel locus on 12q22 near VEZT (rs10859871). Excluding European cases with minimal or unknown severity, we identified additional novel loci on 2p14 (rs4141819), 6p22.3 (rs7739264) and 9p21.3 (rs1537377). All seven SNP effects were replicated in an independent cohort and produced P < 5 × 10−8 in a combined analysis. Finally, we found a significant overlap in polygenic risk for endometriosis between the European and Japanese GWA cohorts (P = 8.8 × 10−11), indicating that many weakly associated SNPs represent true endometriosis risk loci and risk prediction and future targeted disease therapy may be transferred across these populations.
doi:10.1038/ng.2445
PMCID: PMC3527416  PMID: 23104006
11.  Genome-wide association study identifies novel loci predisposing to cutaneous melanoma† 
Human Molecular Genetics  2011;20(24):5012-5023.
We performed a multistage genome-wide association study of melanoma. In a discovery cohort of 1804 melanoma cases and 1026 controls, we identified loci at chromosomes 15q13.1 (HERC2/OCA2 region) and 16q24.3 (MC1R) regions that reached genome-wide significance within this study and also found strong evidence for genetic effects on susceptibility to melanoma from markers on chromosome 9p21.3 in the p16/ARF region and on chromosome 1q21.3 (ARNT/LASS2/ANXA9 region). The most significant single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the 15q13.1 locus (rs1129038 and rs12913832) lie within a genomic region that has profound effects on eye and skin color; notably, 50% of variability in eye color is associated with variation in the SNP rs12913832. Because eye and skin colors vary across European populations, we further evaluated the associations of the significant SNPs after carefully adjusting for European substructure. We also evaluated the top 10 most significant SNPs by using data from three other genome-wide scans. Additional in silico data provided replication of the findings from the most significant region on chromosome 1q21.3 rs7412746 (P = 6 × 10−10). Together, these data identified several candidate genes for additional studies to identify causal variants predisposing to increased risk for developing melanoma.
doi:10.1093/hmg/ddr415
PMCID: PMC3298855  PMID: 21926416
12.  A 3p26-3p25 genetic linkage finding for DSM-IV major depression in heavy smoking families 
The American journal of psychiatry  2011;168(8):848-852.
Objective
The authors tested for genetic linkage of DSM-IV-diagnosed major depressive disorder in families that were ascertained for cigarette smoking.
Method
Within a study that targeted families characterized by a history of smoking, analyses derived a subset of 91 Australian families with two or more offspring with a history of DSM-IV major depressive disorder (affected sibling pairs, N=187) and 25 Finnish families (affected sibling pairs, N=33). Within this affected sibling pair design, the authors conducted nonparametric linkage analysis.
Results
In the Australian heavy smoking families, the authors found a genome-wide significant multipoint LOD score of 4.14 for major depressive disorder on chromosome 3 at 24.9 cM (3p26-3p25).
Conclusions
Genome-wide significant linkage was detected for major depressive disorder on chromosome 3p in a sample ascertained for smoking. A linkage peak at this location was also observed in an independent study of major depressive disorder.
doi:10.1176/appi.ajp.2011.10091319
PMCID: PMC3433250  PMID: 21572167
14.  Common Genetic Determinants of Intraocular Pressure and Primary Open-Angle Glaucoma 
PLoS Genetics  2012;8(5):e1002611.
Intraocular pressure (IOP) is a highly heritable risk factor for primary open-angle glaucoma and is the only target for current glaucoma therapy. The genetic factors which determine IOP are largely unknown. We performed a genome-wide association study for IOP in 11,972 participants from 4 independent population-based studies in The Netherlands. We replicated our findings in 7,482 participants from 4 additional cohorts from the UK, Australia, Canada, and the Wellcome Trust Case-Control Consortium 2/Blue Mountains Eye Study. IOP was significantly associated with rs11656696, located in GAS7 at 17p13.1 (p = 1.4×10−8), and with rs7555523, located in TMCO1 at 1q24.1 (p = 1.6×10−8). In a meta-analysis of 4 case-control studies (total N = 1,432 glaucoma cases), both variants also showed evidence for association with glaucoma (p = 2.4×10−2 for rs11656696 and p = 9.1×10−4 for rs7555523). GAS7 and TMCO1 are highly expressed in the ciliary body and trabecular meshwork as well as in the lamina cribrosa, optic nerve, and retina. Both genes functionally interact with known glaucoma disease genes. These data suggest that we have identified two clinically relevant genes involved in IOP regulation.
Author Summary
Glaucoma is a major eye disease in the elderly and is the second leading cause of blindness worldwide. The numerous familial glaucoma cases, as well as evidence from epidemiological and twin studies, strongly support a genetic component in developing glaucoma. However, it has proven difficult to identify the specific genes involved. Intraocular pressure (IOP) is the major risk factor for glaucoma and the only target for the current glaucoma therapy. IOP has been shown to be highly heritable. We investigated the role of common genetic variants in IOP by performing a genome-wide association study. Discovery analyses in 11,972 participants and subsequent replication analyses in a further 7,482 participants yielded two common genetic variants that were associated with IOP. The first (rs11656696) is located in GAS7 at chromosome 17, the second (rs7555523) in TMCO1 at chromosome 1. Both variants were associated with glaucoma in a meta-analysis of 4 case-control studies. GAS7 and TMCO1 are expressed in the ocular tissues that are involved in glaucoma. Both genes functionally interact with the known glaucoma disease genes. These data suggest that we have identified two genes involved in IOP regulation and glaucomatous neuropathy.
doi:10.1371/journal.pgen.1002611
PMCID: PMC3342933  PMID: 22570627
17.  Association of Polymorphisms in the Hepatocyte Growth Factor Gene Promoter with Keratoconus 
This is a meta-analysis of two genome-wide association studies that found evidence of association of keratoconus with polymorphisms in the promoter of the HGF gene. One polymorphism is associated with higher levels of serum HGF.
Purpose.
Keratoconus is a progressive disorder of the cornea that can lead to severe visual impairment or blindness. Although several genomic regions have been linked to rare familial forms of keratoconus, no genes have yet been definitively identified for common forms of the disease.
Methods.
Two genome-wide association scans were undertaken in parallel. The first used pooled DNA from an Australian cohort, followed by typing of top-ranked single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in individual DNA samples. The second was conducted in individually genotyped patients, and controls from the USA. Tag SNPs around the hepatocyte growth factor (HGF) gene were typed in three additional replication cohorts. Serum levels of HGF protein in normal individuals were assessed with ELISA and correlated with genotype.
Results.
The only SNP observed to be associated in both the pooled discovery and primary replication cohort was rs1014091, located upstream of the HGF gene. The nearby SNP rs3735520 was found to be associated in the individually typed discovery cohort (P = 6.1 × 10−7). Genotyping of tag SNPs around HGF revealed association at rs3735520 and rs17501108/rs1014091 in four of the five cohorts. Meta-analysis of all five datasets together yielded suggestive P values for rs3735520 (P = 9.9 × 10−7) and rs17501108 (P = 9.9 × 10−5). In addition, SNP rs3735520 was found to be associated with serum HGF level in normal individuals (P = 0.036).
Conclusions.
Taken together, these results implicate genetic variation at the HGF locus with keratoconus susceptibility.
doi:10.1167/iovs.11-8261
PMCID: PMC3208191  PMID: 22003120
18.  Platinum sensitivity-related germline polymorphism discovered via a cell-based approach and analysis of its association with outcome in ovarian cancer patients 
Purpose
Utilizing cell-based approaches to identify genetic markers predictive of patients’ risk for poor response prior to chemotherapy.
Experimental Design
We performed genome-wide association studies (GWASs) to identify SNPs associated with cellular sensitivity to carboplatin through their effects on mRNA expression using International HapMap lymphoblastoid cell lines (LCLs) and replicated them in additional LCLs. SNPs passing both stages of the cell-based study were tested for association with progression free survival (PFS) in patients. Phase-1 validation was based on 377 ovarian cancer patients receiving at least 4-cycle of carboplatin and paclitaxel from the Australian Ovarian Cancer Study (AOCS). Positive associations were then assessed in the phase-2 validation analysis of 1,326 patients from the Ovarian Cancer Association Consortium and The Cancer Genome Atlas.
Results
In the initial GWAS, 342 SNPs were associated with carboplatin-induced cytotoxicity, of which 18 unique SNPs were retained after assessing their association with gene expression. One SNP (rs1649942) was replicated in an independent LCL set (p-valueBonferroni adjusted=9×10−3). It was found to be significantly associated with decreased PFS in phase-1 AOCS patients (Pper-allele=2×10−2), with a stronger effect in the subset of women with optimally debulked tumours (Pper-allele=4×10−3). rs1649942 was also associated with poorer overall survival in women with optimally debulked tumours (Pper-allele=9×10−3). However, this SNP was not significant in the phase-2 validation with patients from numerous cohorts.
Conclusion
This study demonstrates the potential of cell-based, genome-wide approaches to identify germ-line predictors of treatment outcome and highlights the need for extensive validation in patients to assess their clinical effect.
doi:10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-11-0724
PMCID: PMC3160494  PMID: 21705454
ovarian cancer; pharmacogenomics; carboplatin; genome-wide study; HapMap CEU
19.  Platinum sensitivity-related germline polymorphism discovered via a cell-based approach and analysis of its association with outcome in ovarian cancer patients 
Purpose
Utilizing cell-based approaches to identify genetic markers predictive of patients’ risk for poor response prior to chemotherapy.
Experimental Design
We performed genome-wide association studies (GWASs) to identify SNPs associated with cellular sensitivity to carboplatin through their effects on mRNA expression using International HapMap lymphoblastoid cell lines (LCLs) and replicated them in additional LCLs. SNPs passing both stages of the cell-based study were tested for association with progression free survival (PFS) in patients. Phase-1 validation was based on 377 ovarian cancer patients receiving at least 4-cycle of carboplatin and paclitaxel from the Australian Ovarian Cancer Study (AOCS). Positive associations were then assessed in the phase-2 validation analysis of 1,326 patients from the Ovarian Cancer Association Consortium and The Cancer Genome Atlas.
Results
In the initial GWAS, 342 SNPs were associated with carboplatin-induced cytotoxicity, of which 18 unique SNPs were retained after assessing their association with gene expression. One SNP (rs1649942) was replicated in an independent LCL set (p-valueBonferroni adjusted=9×10−3). It was found to be significantly associated with decreased PFS in phase-1 AOCS patients (Pper-allele=2×10−2), with a stronger effect in the subset of women with optimally debulked tumours (Pper-allele =4×10−3). rs1649942 was also associated with poorer overall survival in women with optimally debulked tumours (Pper-allele=9×10−3). However, this SNP was not significant in the phase-2 validation with patients from numerous cohorts.
Conclusion
This study demonstrates the potential of cell-based, genome-wide approaches to identify germ-line predictors of treatment outcome and highlights the need for extensive validation in patients to assess their clinical effect.
doi:10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-11-0724
PMCID: PMC3160494  PMID: 21705454
ovarian cancer; pharmacogenomics; carboplatin; genome-wide study; HapMap CEU
21.  A novel recurrent mutation in MITF predisposes to familial and sporadic melanoma 
Nature  2011;480(7375):99-103.
So far, two familial melanoma genes have been identified, accounting for a minority of genetic risk in families. Mutations in CDKN2A account for approximately 40% of familial cases1, and predisposing mutations in CDK4 have been reported in a very small number of melanoma kindreds2. To identify other familial melanoma genes, here we conducted whole-genome sequencing of probands from several melanoma families, identifying one individual carrying a novel germline variant (coding DNA sequence c.G1075A; protein sequence p.E318K; rs149617956) in the melanoma-lineage-specific oncogene microphthalmia-associated transcription factor (MITF). Although the variant co-segregated with melanoma in some but not all cases in the family, linkage analysis of 31 families subsequently identified to carry the variant generated a log odds ratio (lod) score of 2.7 under a dominant model, indicating E318K as a possible intermediate risk variant. Consistent with this, the E318K variant was significantly associated with melanoma in a large Australian case–control sample. Likewise, it was similarly associated in an independent case–control sample from the United Kingdom. In the Australian sample, the variant allele was significantly over-represented in cases with a family history of melanoma, multiple primary melanomas, or both. The variant allele was also associated with increased naevus count and non-blue eye colour. Functional analysis of E318K showed that MITF encoded by the variant allele had impaired sumoylation and differentially regulated several MITF targets. These data indicate that MITF is a melanoma-predisposition gene and highlight the utility of whole-genome sequencing to identify novel rare variants associated with disease susceptibility.
doi:10.1038/nature10630
PMCID: PMC3266855  PMID: 22080950
22.  Common variants near CAV1 and CAV2 are associated with primary open-angle glaucoma 
Nature genetics  2010;42(10):906-909.
We conducted a genome-wide association study for primary open-angle glaucoma (POAG) in 1,263 affected individuals (cases) and 34,877 controls from Iceland. We identified a common sequence variant at 7q31 (rs4236601[A], odds ratio (OR) = 1.36, P = 5.0 × 10-10). We then replicated the association in sample sets of 2,175 POAG cases and 2,064 controls from Sweden, the UK and Australia (combined OR = 1.18, P = 0.0015) and in 299 POAG cases and 580 unaffected controls from Hong Kong and Shantou, China (combined OR = 5.42, P = 0.0021). The risk variant identified here is located close to CAV1 and CAV2, both of which are expressed in the trabecular meshwork and retinal ganglion cells that are involved in the pathogenesis of POAG.
doi:10.1038/ng.661
PMCID: PMC3222888  PMID: 20835238
23.  Genome-wide association study identifies a locus at 7p15.2 associated with endometriosis 
Nature genetics  2010;43(1):51-54.
Endometriosis is a common gynaecological disease associated with pelvic pain and sub-fertility. We conducted a genome-wide association (GWA) study in 3,194 surgically confirmed endometriosis cases and 7,060 controls from Australia and the UK. Polygenic predictive modelling showed significantly increased genetic loading among 1,364 cases with moderate-severe endometriosis. The strongest association signal was on 7p15.2 (rs12700667) for ‘all’ endometriosis (P = 2.6 × 10−7, OR = 1.22 (1.13-1.32)) and for moderate-severe disease (P = 1.5 × 10−9 (OR = 1.38 (1.24-1.53)). We replicated rs12700667 in an independent US cohort of 2,392 self-reported surgically confirmed endometriosis cases and 2,271 controls (P = 1.2 × 10−3, OR = 1.17 (1.06-1.28)), resulting in a genome-wide significant P-value of 1.4 × 10−9 (OR = 1.20 (1.13-1.27)) for ‘all’ endometriosis in our combined datasets of 5,586 cases and 9,331 controls. SNP rs12700667 is located in an inter-genic region upstream of plausible candidate genes NFE2L3 and HOXA10.
doi:10.1038/ng.731
PMCID: PMC3019124  PMID: 21151130
24.  A genomewide association study of nicotine and alcohol dependence in Australian and Dutch populations 
Persistent tobacco use and excessive alcohol consumption are major public health concerns worldwide. Both alcohol and nicotine dependence (AD, ND) are genetically-influenced complex disorders that exhibit a high degree of comorbidity. To identify gene variants contributing to one or both of these addictions, we first conducted a pooling-based genome wide association study (GWAS) in an Australian population, using Illumina Infinium 1M arrays. Allele frequency differences were compared between pooled DNA from case and control groups for: (i) AD, 1224 cases and 1162 controls; (ii) ND, 1273 cases and 1113 controls; and (iii) comorbid AD and ND, 599 cases and 488 controls. Secondly, we carried out a GWAS in independent samples from the Netherlands for AD and for ND. Thirdly, we performed a meta-analysis of the 10,000 most significant AD- and ND-related SNPs from the Australian and Dutch samples. In the Australian GWAS, one SNP achieved genomewide significance (p < 5×10−8) for ND (rs964170 in ARHGAP10 on chromosome 4, p=4.43×10−8) and three others for comorbid AD/ND (rs7530302 near MARK1 on chromosome 1 (p=1.90×10−9), rs1784300 near DDX6 on chromosome 11 (p=2.60×10−9) and rs12882384 in KIAA1409 on chromosome 14 (p=4.86×10−8)). None of the SNPs achieved genomewide significance in the Australian/Dutch meta-analysis, but a gene network diagram based on the top-results revealed overrepresentation of genes coding for ion-channels and cell adhesion molecules. Further studies will be required before the detailed causes of comorbidity between AD and ND are understood.
doi:10.1375/twin.13.1.10
PMCID: PMC3070599  PMID: 20158304
addiction; alcohol; comorbidity; genetics; smoking
25.  Legacy of mutiny on the Bounty: founder effect and admixture on Norfolk Island 
The population of Norfolk Island, located off the eastern coast of Australia, possesses an unusual and fascinating history. Most present-day islanders are related to a small number of the ‘Bounty' mutineer founders. These founders consisted of Caucasian males and Polynesian females and led to an admixed present-day population. By examining a single large pedigree of 5742 individuals, spanning >200 years, we analyzed the influence of admixture and founder effect on various cardiovascular disease (CVD)-related traits. On account of the relative isolation of the population, on average one-third of the genomes of present-day islanders (single large pedigree individuals) is derived from 17 initial founders. The proportion of Polynesian ancestry in the present-day individuals was found to significantly influence total triglycerides, body mass index, systolic blood pressure and diastolic blood pressure. For various cholesterol traits, the influence of ancestry was less marked but overall the direction of effect for all CVD-related traits was consistent with Polynesian ancestry conferring greater CVD risk. Marker-derived homozygosity was computed and agreed with measures of inbreeding derived from pedigree information. Founder effect (inbreeding and marker-derived homozygosity) significantly influenced height. In conclusion, both founder effect and extreme admixture have substantially influenced the genetic architecture of a variety of CVD-related traits in this population.
doi:10.1038/ejhg.2009.111
PMCID: PMC2987173  PMID: 19584896
isolated population; extended pedigree; cardiovascular disease; inbreeding

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