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1.  Vaginal and Oral Microbes, Host Genotype and Preterm Birth 
Medical hypotheses  2009;73(6):963-975.
Preterm birth (PTB) is a leading cause of infant mortality and morbidity in the U.S. and across the globe. Infection and associated inflammation are important initiators for PTB pathways; an estimated 40% of PTBs are attributed to amniochorionic-decidual or systemic inflammation. Historically, intrauterine infections have been implicated in PTB; recent evidence suggests that infections remote from the fetal site may also be causative. There is strong epidemiological evidence that bacterial vaginosis and periodontitis -- two syndromes characterized by perturbations in the normal vaginal and oral bacterial microflora respectively-- are linked to infection-associated PTB. Oral and vaginal environments are similar in their bacterial microbiology; identical bacterial species have been independently isolated in periodontitis and bacterial vaginosis. Periodontitis and bacterial vaginosis also share many behavioral and sociodemographic risk factors suggesting a possible common pathophysiology. Genetic polymorphisms in host inflammatory responses to infection are shared between bacterial vaginosis, periodontitis and PTB, suggesting common mechanisms through which host genotype modify the effect of abnormal bacterial colonization on preterm birth. We review the state of knowledge regarding the risk of PTB attributable to perturbations in bacterial flora in oral and vaginal sites and the role of host genetics in modifying the risk of infection-related PTB. We posit that bacterial species that are common in perturbed vaginal and oral sites are associated with PTB through their interaction with the host immune system.
PMCID: PMC4026093  PMID: 19942083
Prematurity; infection; genotype
2.  X- linked markers in DMD associated with oral clefts 
As part of an international consortium, case-parent trios were collected for a genome wide association study of isolated, non-syndromic oral clefts, including cleft lip (CL), cleft palate (CP) and cleft lip and palate (CLP). Non-syndromic oral clefts have a complex and heterogeneous etiology. Risk is influenced by genes, environmental factors, and differs markedly by gender. Family based association tests (FBAT) were used on 14,486 SNPs spanning the X chromosome, stratified by type of cleft and racial group. Significant results even after multiple comparisons correction were obtained for the Duchene’s muscular dystrophy (DMD) gene, the largest single gene in the human genome, among CL/P trios (both CL and CLP combined). When stratified into groups of European and Asian ancestry, stronger signals were obtained for Asians. Although conventional sliding window haplotype analysis showed no increase in significance, analysis selected combinations of the 25 most significant SNPs in DMD identified four SNPs together that attained genome-wide significance among Asian CL/P trios, raising the possibility of interaction between distant SNPs within DMD.
PMCID: PMC3600648  PMID: 23489894
oral clefts; case-parent trios; X-linked; family-based association; DMD
3.  Distinct Loci in the CHRNA5/CHRNA3/CHRNB4 Gene Cluster Are Associated With Onset of Regular Smoking 
Stephens, Sarah H. | Hartz, Sarah M. | Hoft, Nicole R. | Saccone, Nancy L. | Corley, Robin C. | Hewitt, John K. | Hopfer, Christian J. | Breslau, Naomi | Coon, Hilary | Chen, Xiangning | Ducci, Francesca | Dueker, Nicole | Franceschini, Nora | Frank, Josef | Han, Younghun | Hansel, Nadia N. | Jiang, Chenhui | Korhonen, Tellervo | Lind, Penelope A. | Liu, Jason | Lyytikäinen, Leo-Pekka | Michel, Martha | Shaffer, John R. | Short, Susan E. | Sun, Juzhong | Teumer, Alexander | Thompson, John R. | Vogelzangs, Nicole | Vink, Jacqueline M. | Wenzlaff, Angela | Wheeler, William | Yang, Bao-Zhu | Aggen, Steven H. | Balmforth, Anthony J. | Baumeister, Sebastian E. | Beaty, Terri H. | Benjamin, Daniel J. | Bergen, Andrew W. | Broms, Ulla | Cesarini, David | Chatterjee, Nilanjan | Chen, Jingchun | Cheng, Yu-Ching | Cichon, Sven | Couper, David | Cucca, Francesco | Dick, Danielle | Foroud, Tatiana | Furberg, Helena | Giegling, Ina | Gillespie, Nathan A. | Gu, Fangyi | Hall, Alistair S. | Hällfors, Jenni | Han, Shizhong | Hartmann, Annette M. | Heikkilä, Kauko | Hickie, Ian B. | Hottenga, Jouke Jan | Jousilahti, Pekka | Kaakinen, Marika | Kähönen, Mika | Koellinger, Philipp D. | Kittner, Stephen | Konte, Bettina | Landi, Maria-Teresa | Laatikainen, Tiina | Leppert, Mark | Levy, Steven M. | Mathias, Rasika A. | McNeil, Daniel W. | Medland, Sarah E. | Montgomery, Grant W. | Murray, Tanda | Nauck, Matthias | North, Kari E. | Paré, Peter D. | Pergadia, Michele | Ruczinski, Ingo | Salomaa, Veikko | Viikari, Jorma | Willemsen, Gonneke | Barnes, Kathleen C. | Boerwinkle, Eric | Boomsma, Dorret I. | Caporaso, Neil | Edenberg, Howard J. | Francks, Clyde | Gelernter, Joel | Grabe, Hans Jörgen | Hops, Hyman | Jarvelin, Marjo-Riitta | Johannesson, Magnus | Kendler, Kenneth S. | Lehtimäki, Terho | Magnusson, Patrik K.E. | Marazita, Mary L. | Marchini, Jonathan | Mitchell, Braxton D. | Nöthen, Markus M. | Penninx, Brenda W. | Raitakari, Olli | Rietschel, Marcella | Rujescu, Dan | Samani, Nilesh J. | Schwartz, Ann G. | Shete, Sanjay | Spitz, Margaret | Swan, Gary E. | Völzke, Henry | Veijola, Juha | Wei, Qingyi | Amos, Chris | Cannon, Dale S. | Grucza, Richard | Hatsukami, Dorothy | Heath, Andrew | Johnson, Eric O. | Kaprio, Jaakko | Madden, Pamela | Martin, Nicholas G. | Stevens, Victoria L. | Weiss, Robert B. | Kraft, Peter | Bierut, Laura J. | Ehringer, Marissa A.
Genetic epidemiology  2013;37(8):846-859.
Neuronal nicotinic acetylcholine receptor (nAChR) genes (CHRNA5/CHRNA3/CHRNB4) have been reproducibly associated with nicotine dependence, smoking behaviors, and lung cancer risk. Of the few reports that have focused on early smoking behaviors, association results have been mixed. This meta-analysis examines early smoking phenotypes and SNPs in the gene cluster to determine: (1) whether the most robust association signal in this region (rs16969968) for other smoking behaviors is also associated with early behaviors, and/or (2) if additional statistically independent signals are important in early smoking. We focused on two phenotypes: age of tobacco initiation (AOI) and age of first regular tobacco use (AOS). This study included 56,034 subjects (41 groups) spanning nine countries and evaluated five SNPs including rs1948, rs16969968, rs578776, rs588765, and rs684513. Each dataset was analyzed using a centrally generated script. Meta-analyses were conducted from summary statistics. AOS yielded significant associations with SNPs rs578776 (beta = 0.02, P = 0.004), rs1948 (beta = 0.023, P = 0.018), and rs684513 (beta = 0.032, P = 0.017), indicating protective effects. There were no significant associations for the AOI phenotype. Importantly, rs16969968, the most replicated signal in this region for nicotine dependence, cigarettes per day, and cotinine levels, was not associated with AOI (P = 0.59) or AOS (P = 0.92). These results provide important insight into the complexity of smoking behavior phenotypes, and suggest that association signals in the CHRNA5/A3/B4 gene cluster affecting early smoking behaviors may be different from those affecting the mature nicotine dependence phenotype.
PMCID: PMC3947535  PMID: 24186853
CHRNA5; CHRNA3; CHRNB4; meta-analysis; nicotine; smoke
4.  A genome-wide study of de novo deletions identifies a candidate locus for non-syndromic isolated cleft lip/palate risk 
BMC Genetics  2014;15:24.
Copy number variants (CNVs) may play an important part in the development of common birth defects such as oral clefts, and individual patients with multiple birth defects (including clefts) have been shown to carry small and large chromosomal deletions. In this paper we investigate de novo deletions defined as DNA segments missing in an oral cleft proband but present in both unaffected parents. We compare de novo deletion frequencies in children of European ancestry with an isolated, non-syndromic oral cleft to frequencies in children of European ancestry from randomly sampled trios.
We identified a genome-wide significant 62 kilo base (kb) non-coding region on chromosome 7p14.1 where de novo deletions occur more frequently among oral cleft cases than controls. We also observed wider de novo deletions among cleft lip and palate (CLP) cases than seen among cleft palate (CP) and cleft lip (CL) cases.
This study presents a region where de novo deletions appear to be involved in the etiology of oral clefts, although the underlying biological mechanisms are still unknown. Larger de novo deletions are more likely to interfere with normal craniofacial development and may result in more severe clefts. Study protocol and sample DNA source can severely affect estimates of de novo deletion frequencies. Follow-up studies are needed to further validate these findings and to potentially identify additional structural variants underlying oral clefts.
PMCID: PMC3929298  PMID: 24528994
Oral clefts; DNA copy numbers; de novo deletions; Case-parent trios
5.  Evidence of Gene−Environment Interaction for Two Genes on Chromosome 4 and Environmental Tobacco Smoke in Controlling the Risk of Nonsyndromic Cleft Palate 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(2):e88088.
Nonsyndromic cleft palate (CP) is one of the most common human birth defects and both genetic and environmental risk factors contribute to its etiology. We conducted a genome-wide association study (GWAS) using 550 CP case-parent trios ascertained in an international consortium. Stratified analysis among trios with different ancestries was performed to test for GxE interactions with common maternal exposures using conditional logistic regression models. While no single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) achieved genome-wide significance when considered alone, markers in SLC2A9 and the neighboring WDR1 on chromosome 4p16.1 gave suggestive evidence of gene-environment interaction with environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) among 259 Asian trios when the models included a term for GxE interaction. Multiple SNPs in these two genes were associated with increased risk of nonsyndromic CP if the mother was exposed to ETS during the peri-conceptual period (3 months prior to conception through the first trimester). When maternal ETS was considered, fifteen of 135 SNPs mapping to SLC2A9 and 9 of 59 SNPs in WDR1 gave P values approaching genome-wide significance (10−6
PMCID: PMC3916361  PMID: 24516586
Dentistry 3000  2013;1(1):14.
Previous research suggests that aspects of facial surface morphology are heritable. Traditionally, heritability studies have used a limited set of linear distances to quantify facial morphology and often employ statistical methods poorly designed to deal with biological shape. In this preliminary report, we use a combination of 3D photogrammetry and landmark-based morphometrics to explore which aspects of face shape show the strongest evidence of heritability in a sample of twins.
3D surface images were obtained from 21 twin pairs (10 monozygotic, 11 same-sex dizygotic). Thirteen 3D landmarks were collected from each facial surface and their coordinates subjected to geometric morphometric analysis. This involved superimposing the individual landmark configurations and then subjecting the resulting shape coordinates to a principal components analysis. The resulting PC scores were then used to calculate rough narrow-sense heritability estimates.
Three principal components displayed evidence of moderate to high heritability and were associated with variation in the breadth of orbital and nasal structures, upper lip height and projection, and the vertical and forward projection of the root of the nose due to variation in the position of nasion.
Aspects of facial shape, primarily related to variation in length and breadth of central midfacial structures, were shown to demonstrate evidence of strong heritability. An improved understanding of which facial features are under strong genetic control is an important step in the identification of specific genes that underlie normal facial variation.
PMCID: PMC3911821  PMID: 24501696
3D stereophotogrammetry; face shape; geometric morphometrics; heritability; twins
Van der Woude syndrome is the most common form of syndromic orofacial clefting, accounting for 1-2% of all patients with cleft lip and/or cleft palate. Van der Woude and popliteal pterygium syndromes are caused by mutations in IRF6, but phenotypic variability within and among families with either syndrome suggests that other genetic factors contribute to the phenotypes. The aim of this study was to identify common variants acting as genetic modifiers of IRF6 as well as genotype-phenotype correlations based on mutation type and location. We identified an association between mutations in the DNA-binding domain of IRF6 and limb defects (including pterygia). Although we did not detect formally significant associations with the genes tested, borderline associations suggest several genes that could modify the VWS phenotype, including FOXE1, TGFB3, and TFAP2A. Some of these genes are hypothesized to be part of the IRF6 gene regulatory network and may suggest additional genes for future study when larger sample sizes are also available. We also show that families with the Van der Woude phenotype but in whom no mutations have been identified have a lower frequency of cleft lip, suggesting there may be locus and/or mutation class differences in Van der Woude syndrome.
PMCID: PMC3898350  PMID: 23949966
Modifier gene; Van der Woude; popliteal pterygium; cleft; lip pit
G3: Genes|Genomes|Genetics  2013;4(2):307-314.
The etiology of chronic periodontitis clearly includes a heritable component. Our purpose was to perform a small exploratory genome-wide association study in adults ages 18–49 years to nominate genes associated with periodontal disease−related phenotypes for future consideration. Full-mouth periodontal pocket depth probing was performed on participants (N = 673), with affected status defined as two or more sextants with probing depths of 5.5 mm or greater. Two variations of this phenotype that differed in how missing teeth were treated were used in analysis. More than 1.2 million genetic markers across the genome were genotyped or imputed and tested for genetic association. We identified ten suggestive loci (p-value ≤ 1E-5), including genes/loci that have been previously implicated in chronic periodontitis: LAMA2, HAS2, CDH2, ESR1, and the genomic region on chromosome 14q21-22 between SOS2 and NIN. Moreover, we nominated novel loci not previously implicated in chronic periodontitis or related pathways, including the regions 3p22 near OSBPL10 (a lipid receptor implicated in hyperlipidemia), 4p15 near HSP90AB2P (a heat shock pseudogene), 11p15 near GVINP1 (a GTPase pseudogene), 14q31 near SEL1L (an intracellular transporter), and 18q12 in FHOD3 (an actin cytoskeleton regulator). Replication of these results in additional samples is needed. This is one of the first research efforts to identify genetic polymorphisms associated with chronic periodontitis-related phenotypes by the genome-wide association study approach. Though small, efforts such this are needed in order to nominate novel genes and generate new hypotheses for exploration and testing in future studies.
PMCID: PMC3931564  PMID: 24347629
GWAS; chronic periodontitis
BMC Medical Genetics  2013;14:116.
Our previous genome-wide linkage scan mapped five loci for caries experience. The purpose of this study was to fine map one of these loci, the locus 13q31.1, in order to identify genetic contributors to caries.
Seventy-two pedigrees from the Philippines were studied. Caries experience was recorded and DNA was extracted from blood samples obtained from all subjects. Sixty-one single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in 13q31.1 were genotyped. Association between caries experience and alleles was tested. We also studied 1,481 DNA samples obtained from saliva of subjects from the USA, 918 children from Brazil, and 275 children from Turkey, in order to follow up the results found in the Filipino families. We used the AliBaba2.1 software to determine if the nucleotide changes of the associated SNPs changed the prediction of the presence of transcription-binding site sequences and we also analyzed the gene expression of the genes selected based on binding predictions. Mutation analysis was also performed in 33 Filipino individuals of a segment of 13q31.1 that is highly conserved in mammals.
Statistically significant association with high caries experience was found for 11 markers in 13q31.1 in the Filipino families. Haplotype analysis also confirmed these results. In the populations used for follow-up purposes, associations were found between high caries experience and a subset of these markers. Regarding the prediction of the transcription-binding site, the base change of the SNP rs17074565 was found to change the predicted-binding of genes that could be involved in the pathogenesis of caries. When the sequence has the allele C of rs17074565, the potential transcription factors binding the sequence are GR and GATA1. When the subject carries the G allele of rs17074565, the potential transcription factor predicted to bind to the sequence is GATA3. The expression of GR in whole saliva was higher in individuals with low caries experience when compared to individuals with high caries experience (p = 0.046). No mutations were found in the highly conserved sequence.
Genetic factors contributing to caries experience may exist in 13q31.1. The rs17074565 is located in an intergenic region and is predicted to disrupt the binding sites of two different transcription factors that might be involved with caries experience. GR expression in saliva may be a biomarker for caries risk and should be further explored.
PMCID: PMC3907033  PMID: 24192446
Caries; Genetics; Polymorphism; Oral health
Nonsyndromic cleft lip with or without cleft palate (NSCL/P) is a common birth defect with complex etiology reflecting the action of multiple genetic and/or environmental factors. Genome wide association studies have successfully identified five novel loci associated with NSCL/P including a locus on 1p22.1 near the ABCA4 gene. Since neither expression analysis nor mutation screening support a role for ABCA4 in NSCL/P, we investigated the adjacent gene ARHGAP29.
Mutation screening for ARHGAP29 protein coding exons was conducted in 180 individuals with NSCL/P and controls from the US and the Philippines. Nine exons with variants in ARHGAP29 were then screened in an independent set of 872 cases and 802 controls. Arhgap29 expression was evaluated using in situ hybridization in murine embryos.
Sequencing of ARHGAP29 revealed eight potentially deleterious variants in cases including a frameshift and a nonsense variant. Arhgap29 showed craniofacial expression and was reduced in a mouse deficient for Irf6, a gene previously shown to have a critical role in craniofacial development.
The combination of genome wide association, rare coding sequence variants, craniofacial specific expression and interactions with IRF6 support a role for ARHGAP29 in NSCL/P and as the etiologic gene at the 1p22 GWAS locus for NSCL/P. This work suggests a novel pathway in which the IRF6 gene regulatory network interacts with the Rho pathway via ARHGAP29.
PMCID: PMC3501616  PMID: 23008150
ARHGAP29; cleft lip and palate; candidate gene; complex traits; Rho signaling
To investigate genetic etiologies of preterm birth (PTB) in Argentina through evaluation of single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNP) in candidate genes and population genetic admixture.
Study Design
Genotyping was performed in 389 families. Maternal, paternal, and fetal effects were studied separately. Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) was sequenced in 50 males and 50 females. Y-chromosome anthropological markers were evaluated in 50 males.
Fetal association with PTB was found in the progesterone receptor (PGR, rs1942836; p= 0.004). Maternal association with PTB was found in small conductance calcium activated potassium channel isoform 3 (KCNN3, rs883319; p= 0.01). Gestational age associated with PTB in PGR rs1942836 at 32 –36 weeks (p= 0.0004). MtDNA sequencing determined 88 individuals had Amerindian consistent haplogroups. Two individuals had Amerindian Y-chromosome consistent haplotypes.
This study replicates single locus fetal associations with PTB in PGR, maternal association in KCNN3, and demonstrates possible effects for divergent racial admixture on PTB.
PMCID: PMC3719965  PMID: 23018797
Prematurity; genetic admixture
Frontiers in Genetics  2013;4:196.
Preterm delivery (PTD) is an adverse birth outcome associated with increased infant mortality and negative lifelong health consequences. PTD may be the result of interactions between genetics and maternal/fetal environmental factors including smoking exposure (SMK). A common deletion in the GSTT1 gene was previously reported to affect birth outcomes in smokers. In this study, we dissect the associations among SMK, birth outcomes, and copy number variations (CNVs) in the GSTT1/GSTT2 region. A preterm birth case-control dataset of 1937 mothers was part of the GENEVA preterm birth study, which included genome-wide genotyping used to identify CNVs. We examined the association of SMK with birth outcomes, detected CNVs within the GSTT1/GSTT2 region using PennCNV, and examined associations of the identified CNVs with preterm birth and with birth weight (BW) in full term birth controls, including interactions with SMK. Finally, we tested the association of CNVs in GSTT1/GSTT2 with SMK. We confirmed the association of smoking with low BW and PTD. We identified 2 CNVs in GSTT2 (GSTT2a and GSTT2b), 1 CNV in GSTTP1 and 2 CNVs in GSTT1 (GSTT1a and GSTT1b). The GSTT2a deletion was associated with reduced BW (−284 g, p = 2.50E-7) in smokers, and was more common in smokers [odds ratio(OR) = 1.30, p = 0.04]. We found that the size of the reported common deletion CNV in GSTT1 was larger than previously shown. The GSTTP1 and GSTT1b null genotypes were in high linkage disequilibrium (LD) (D′ = 0.89) and less common in smokers (OR = 0.68, p = 0.019 and OR = 0.73, p = 0.055, respectively). These two deletions were in partial LD with GSTT2a and GSTT2b duplications. All 5 CNVs seem to be associated with increased risk of preterm birth before 35 completed weeks. CNVs in the GSTTT1/GSTT2 region appear associated with low BW and PTD outcomes, but LD complicated these CNVs in GSTT1/GSTT2. In genetic association studies of BW, multiple CNVs in this region need to be investigated instead of a single polymorphism.
PMCID: PMC3809558  PMID: 24194744
prematurity; preterm birth; copy number variation; GSTT1; GSTT2; birth weight
PLoS ONE  2013;8(10):e76666.
A number of genetic studies have suggested numerous susceptibility genes for dental caries over the past decade with few definite conclusions. The rapid accumulation of relevant information, along with the complex architecture of the disease, provides a challenging but also unique opportunity to review and integrate the heterogeneous data for follow-up validation and exploration. In this study, we collected and curated candidate genes from four major categories: association studies, linkage scans, gene expression analyses, and literature mining. Candidate genes were prioritized according to the magnitude of evidence related to dental caries. We then searched for dense modules enriched with the prioritized candidate genes through their protein-protein interactions (PPIs). We identified 23 modules comprising of 53 genes. Functional analyses of these 53 genes revealed three major clusters: cytokine network relevant genes, matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) family, and transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-β) family, all of which have been previously implicated to play important roles in tooth development and carious lesions. Through our extensive data collection and an integrative application of gene prioritization and PPI network analyses, we built a dental caries-specific sub-network for the first time. Our study provided insights into the molecular mechanisms underlying dental caries. The framework we proposed in this work can be applied to other complex diseases.
PMCID: PMC3795720  PMID: 24146904
Orofacial clefts (OFCs)—primarily cleft lip and cleft palate—are among the most common birth defects in all populations worldwide, and have notable population, ethnicity, and gender differences in birth prevalence. Interest in these birth defects goes back centuries, as does formal scientific interest; scientists often used OFCs as examples or evidence during paradigm shifts in human genetics, and have also used virtually every new method of human genetic analysis to deepen our understanding of OFC. This review traces the evolution of human genetic investigations of OFC, highlights the specific insights gained about OFC through the years, and culminates in a review of recent key OFC genetic findings resulting from the powerful tools of the genomics era. Notably, OFC represents a major success for genome-wide approaches, and the field is poised for further breakthroughs in the near future.
PMCID: PMC3760163  PMID: 22703175
genetics; paradigm; history; phenomics; phenotypes
Nature genetics  2012;44(9):968-971.
We have conducted the first meta-analyses for nonsyndromic cleft lip with or without cleft palate (NSCL/P) using data from the two largest genome-wide association studies published to date. We confirmed associations with all previously identified loci and identified six additional susceptibility regions (1p36, 2p21, 3p11.1, 8q21.3, 13q31.1 and 15q22). Analysis of phenotypic variability identified the first specific genetic risk factor for NSCLP (nonsyndromic cleft lip plus palate) (rs8001641; PNSCLP = 6.51 × 10−11; homozygote relative risk = 2.41, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.84–3.16).
PMCID: PMC3598617  PMID: 22863734
PLoS ONE  2013;8(8):e72653.
Gene set-based analysis of genome-wide association study (GWAS) data has recently emerged as a useful approach to examine the joint effects of multiple risk loci in complex human diseases or phenotypes. Dental caries is a common, chronic, and complex disease leading to a decrease in quality of life worldwide. In this study, we applied the approaches of gene set enrichment analysis to a major dental caries GWAS dataset, which consists of 537 cases and 605 controls. Using four complementary gene set analysis methods, we analyzed 1331 Gene Ontology (GO) terms collected from the Molecular Signatures Database (MSigDB). Setting false discovery rate (FDR) threshold as 0.05, we identified 13 significantly associated GO terms. Additionally, 17 terms were further included as marginally associated because they were top ranked by each method, although their FDR is higher than 0.05. In total, we identified 30 promising GO terms, including ‘Sphingoid metabolic process,’ ‘Ubiquitin protein ligase activity,’ ‘Regulation of cytokine secretion,’ and ‘Ceramide metabolic process.’ These GO terms encompass broad functions that potentially interact and contribute to the oral immune response related to caries development, which have not been reported in the standard single marker based analysis. Collectively, our gene set enrichment analysis provided complementary insights into the molecular mechanisms and polygenic interactions in dental caries, revealing promising association signals that could not be detected through single marker analysis of GWAS data.
PMCID: PMC3743773  PMID: 23967329
Pediatric research  2012;73(2):135-141.
To identify genetic variants contributing to preterm birth using a linkage candidate gene approach.
We studied 99 single nucleotide polymorphisms for 33 genes in 257 families with preterm births segregating. Nonparametric and parametric analyses were used. Premature infants and mothers of premature infants were defined as affected cases in independent analyses.
Analyses with the infant as the case identified two genes with evidence of linkage: CRHR1 (p=0.0012) and CYP2E1 (p=0.0011). Analyses with the mother as the case identified four genes with evidence of linkage: ENPP1 (p=0.003), IGFBP3 (p=0.006), DHCR7 (p=0.009), and TRAF2 (p=0.01). DNA sequence analysis of the coding exons and splice sites for CRHR1 and TRAF2 identified no new likely etiologic variants.
These findings suggest the involvement of six genes acting through the infant and/or the mother in the etiology of preterm birth.
PMCID: PMC3740714  PMID: 23168575
Hartz, Sarah M. | Short, Susan E. | Saccone, Nancy L. | Culverhouse, Robert | Chen, LiShiun | Schwantes-An, Tae-Hwi | Coon, Hilary | Han, Younghun | Stephens, Sarah H. | Sun, Juzhong | Chen, Xiangning | Ducci, Francesca | Dueker, Nicole | Franceschini, Nora | Frank, Josef | Geller, Frank | Guđbjartsson, Daniel | Hansel, Nadia N. | Jiang, Chenhui | Keskitalo-Vuokko, Kaisu | Liu, Zhen | Lyytikäinen, Leo-Pekka | Michel, Martha | Rawal, Rajesh | Hum, Sc | Rosenberger, Albert | Scheet, Paul | Shaffer, John R. | Teumer, Alexander | Thompson, John R. | Vink, Jacqueline M. | Vogelzangs, Nicole | Wenzlaff, Angela S. | Wheeler, William | Xiao, Xiangjun | Yang, Bao-Zhu | Aggen, Steven H. | Balmforth, Anthony J. | Baumeister, Sebastian E. | Beaty, Terri | Bennett, Siiri | Bergen, Andrew W. | Boyd, Heather A. | Broms, Ulla | Campbell, Harry | Chatterjee, Nilanjan | Chen, Jingchun | Cheng, Yu-Ching | Cichon, Sven | Couper, David | Cucca, Francesco | Dick, Danielle M. | Foroud, Tatiana | Furberg, Helena | Giegling, Ina | Gu, Fangyi | Hall, Alistair S. | Hällfors, Jenni | Han, Shizhong | Hartmann, Annette M. | Hayward, Caroline | Heikkilä, Kauko | Lic, Phil | Hewitt, John K. | Hottenga, Jouke Jan | Jensen, Majken K. | Jousilahti, Pekka | Kaakinen, Marika | Kittner, Steven J. | Konte, Bettina | Korhonen, Tellervo | Landi, Maria-Teresa | Laatikainen, Tiina | Leppert, Mark | Levy, Steven M. | Mathias, Rasika A. | McNeil, Daniel W. | Medland, Sarah E. | Montgomery, Grant W. | Muley, Thomas | Murray, Tanda | Nauck, Matthias | North, Kari | Pergadia, Michele | Polasek, Ozren | Ramos, Erin M. | Ripatti, Samuli | Risch, Angela | Ruczinski, Ingo | Rudan, Igor | Salomaa, Veikko | Schlessinger, David | Styrkársdóttir, Unnur | Terracciano, Antonio | Uda, Manuela | Willemsen, Gonneke | Wu, Xifeng | Abecasis, Goncalo | Barnes, Kathleen | Bickeböller, Heike | Boerwinkle, Eric | Boomsma, Dorret I. | Caporaso, Neil | Duan, Jubao | Edenberg, Howard J. | Francks, Clyde | Gejman, Pablo V. | Gelernter, Joel | Grabe, Hans Jörgen | Hops, Hyman | Jarvelin, Marjo-Riitta | Viikari, Jorma | Kähönen, Mika | Kendler, Kenneth S. | Lehtimäki, Terho | Levinson, Douglas F. | Marazita, Mary L. | Marchini, Jonathan | Melbye, Mads | Mitchell, Braxton D. | Murray, Jeffrey C. | Nöthen, Markus M. | Penninx, Brenda W. | Raitakari, Olli | Rietschel, Marcella | Rujescu, Dan | Samani, Nilesh J. | Sanders, Alan R. | Schwartz, Ann G. | Shete, Sanjay | Shi, Jianxin | Spitz, Margaret | Stefansson, Kari | Swan, Gary E. | Thorgeirsson, Thorgeir | Völzke, Henry | Wei, Qingyi | Wichmann, H.-Erich | Amos, Christopher I. | Breslau, Naomi | Cannon, Dale S. | Ehringer, Marissa | Grucza, Richard | Hatsukami, Dorothy | Heath, Andrew | Johnson, Eric O. | Kaprio, Jaakko | Madden, Pamela | Martin, Nicholas G. | Stevens, Victoria L. | Stitzel, Jerry A. | Weiss, Robert B. | Kraft, Peter | Bierut, Laura J.
Archives of general psychiatry  2012;69(8):854-860.
Recent studies have shown an association between cigarettes per day (CPD) and a nonsynonymous single-nucleotide polymorphism in CHRNA5, rs16969968.
To determine whether the association between rs16969968 and smoking is modified by age at onset of regular smoking.
Data Sources
Primary data.
Study Selection
Available genetic studies containing measures of CPD and the genotype of rs16969968 or its proxy.
Data Extraction
Uniform statistical analysis scripts were run locally. Starting with 94 050 ever-smokers from 43 studies, we extracted the heavy smokers (CPD >20) and light smokers (CPD ≤10) with age-at-onset information, reducing the sample size to 33 348. Each study was stratified into early-onset smokers (age at onset ≤16 years) and late-onset smokers (age at onset >16 years), and a logistic regression of heavy vs light smoking with the rs16969968 genotype was computed for each stratum. Meta-analysis was performed within each age-at-onset stratum.
Data Synthesis
Individuals with 1 risk allele at rs16969968 who were early-onset smokers were significantly more likely to be heavy smokers in adulthood (odds ratio [OR]=1.45; 95% CI, 1.36–1.55; n=13 843) than were carriers of the risk allele who were late-onset smokers (OR = 1.27; 95% CI, 1.21–1.33, n = 19 505) (P = .01).
These results highlight an increased genetic vulnerability to smoking in early-onset smokers.
PMCID: PMC3482121  PMID: 22868939
BMC Medical Genetics  2013;14:77.
Preterm birth (PTB) is a complex disorder associated with significant neonatal mortality and morbidity and long-term adverse health consequences. Multiple lines of evidence suggest that genetic factors play an important role in its etiology. This study was designed to identify genetic variation associated with PTB in oxytocin pathway genes whose role in parturition is well known.
To identify common genetic variants predisposing to PTB, we genotyped 16 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the oxytocin (OXT), oxytocin receptor (OXTR), and leucyl/cystinyl aminopeptidase (LNPEP) genes in 651 case infants from the U.S. and one or both of their parents. In addition, we examined the role of rare genetic variation in susceptibility to PTB by conducting direct sequence analysis of OXTR in 1394 cases and 1112 controls from the U.S., Argentina, Denmark, and Finland. This study was further extended to maternal triads (maternal grandparents-mother of a case infant, N=309). We also performed in vitro analysis of selected rare OXTR missense variants to evaluate their functional importance.
Maternal genetic effect analysis of the SNP genotype data revealed four SNPs in LNPEP that show significant association with prematurity. In our case–control sequence analysis, we detected fourteen coding variants in exon 3 of OXTR, all but four of which were found in cases only. Of the fourteen variants, three were previously unreported novel rare variants. When the sequence data from the maternal triads were analyzed using the transmission disequilibrium test, two common missense SNPs (rs4686302 and rs237902) in OXTR showed suggestive association for three gestational age subgroups. In vitro functional assays showed a significant difference in ligand binding between wild-type and two mutant receptors.
Our study suggests an association between maternal common polymorphisms in LNPEP and susceptibility to PTB. Maternal OXTR missense SNPs rs4686302 and rs237902 may have gestational age-dependent effects on prematurity. Most of the OXTR rare variants identified do not appear to significantly contribute to the risk of PTB, but those shown to affect receptor function in our in vitro study warrant further investigation. Future studies with larger sample sizes are needed to confirm the findings of this study.
PMCID: PMC3737028  PMID: 23889750
Preterm birth; Genetic association analysis; Oxytocin pathway; Single nucleotide polymorphism; Rare variant
Genetic epidemiology  2012;36(3):253-262.
A major concern for all copy number variation (CNV) detection algorithms is their reliability and repeatability. However, it is difficult to evaluate the reliability of CNV calling strategies due to the lack of gold standard data that would tell us which CNVs are real. We propose that if CNVs are called in duplicate samples, or inherited from parent to child, then these can be considered validated CNVs. We used two large family-based Genome-Wide Association Study (GWAS) datasets from the GENEVA consortium to look at concordance rates of CNV calls between duplicate samples, parent-child pairs, and unrelated pairs. Our goal was to make recommendations for ways to filter and use CNV calls in GWAS datasets that do not include family data. We used PennCNV as our primary CNV-calling algorithm, and tested CNV calls using different datasets and marker sets, and with various filters on CNVs and samples. Using the Illumina core HumanHap550 SNP (single nucleotide polymorphism) set, we saw duplicate concordance rates of approximately 55% and parent-child transmission rates of approximately 28% in our datasets. GC model adjustment and sample quality filtering had little effect on these reliability measures. Stratification on CNV size and DNA sample type did have some effect. Overall, our results show that it is probably not possible to find a CNV calling strategy (including filtering and algorithm) that will give us a set of “reliable” CNV calls using current chip technologies. But if we understand the error process, we can still use CNV calls appropriately in genetic association studies.
PMCID: PMC3696390  PMID: 22714937
evaluation; CNV calling strategies; family-based GWAS
Pediatric research  2012;72(5):539-544.
Preterm delivery (PTD) is the leading cause of neonatal morbidity and mortality. Epidemiologic studies indicate recurrence of PTD is maternally inherited creating a strong possibility that mitochondrial variants contribute to its etiology. This study examines the association between mitochondrial genotypes with PTD and related outcomes.
This study combined, through meta-analysis, two case-control, genome-wide association studies (GWAS); one from the Danish National Birth Cohort (DNBC) Study and one from the Norwegian Mother and Child Cohort Study (MoBa) conducted by the Norwegian Institute of Public Health. The outcomes of PTD (≤36 weeks), very PTD (≤32 weeks) and preterm prelabor rupture of membranes (PPROM) were examined. 135 individual SNP associations were tested using the combined genome from mothers and neonates (case vs. control) in each population and then pooled via meta-analysis.
After meta-analysis there were four SNPs for the outcome of PTD below p≤0.10, and two below p≤0.05. For the additional outcomes of very PTD and PPROM there were three and four SNPs respectively below p≤0.10.
Given the number of tests no single SNP reached study wide significance (p=0.0006). Our study does not support the hypothesis that mitochondrial genetics contributes to the maternal transmission of PTD and related outcomes.
PMCID: PMC3694399  PMID: 22902432
Genetic epidemiology  2012;36(4):392-399.
In a recent genome wide association study (GWAS) from an international consortium, evidence of linkage and association in chr8q24 was much stronger among non-syndromic cleft lip/palate (CL/P) case-parent trios of European ancestry than among trios of Asian ancestry. We examined marker information content and haplotype diversity across 13 recruitment sites (from Europe, USA and Asia) separately, and conducted principal components analysis (PCA) on parents. As expected, PCA revealed large genetic distances between Europeans and Asians, and a north-south cline from Korea to Singapore in Asia, with Filipino parents forming a somewhat distinct Southeast Asian cluster. Hierarchical clustering of SNP heterozygosity revealed two major clades consistent with PCA results. All genotyped SNPs giving p<10−6 in the allelic TDT showed higher heterozygosity in Europeans than Asians. On average, European ancestry parents had higher haplotype diversity than Asians. Imputing additional variants across chr8q24 increased the strength of statistical evidence among Europeans and also revealed a significant signal among Asians (although it did not reach genome-wide significance). Tests for SNP-population interaction were negative, indicating the lack of strong signal for 8q24 in families of Asian ancestry was not due to any distinct genetic effect, but could simply reflect low power due to lower allele frequencies in Asians.
PMCID: PMC3615645  PMID: 22508319
cleft lip with/without cleft palate; 8q24; genome wide association; imputation
Following recent genome wide association studies (GWAS), significant genetic associations have been identified for several genes with non-syndromic cleft lip with or without cleft palate (CL(P). To replicate two of these GWAS signals, we investigated the role of common and rare variants in the PAX7 and VAX1 genes. TaqMan genotyping was carried out for SNPs in VAX1 and PAX7 and Transmission Disequilibrium Test (TDT) was performed to test for linkage and association in each population. Direct sequencing in and around the PAX7 and VAX1 genes in 1,326 individuals of European and Asian ancestry was done. TDT analysis showed strong associations with markers in VAX1 (rs7078160, p=2.7E-06 and rs475202, p=0.0002) in a combined sample of Mongolian and Japanese CL (P) case-parent triads. Analyses using parent-of-origin effects showed significant excess transmission of the minor allele from both parents with the effect in the mothers (p=6.5E-05, OR (transmission) =1.91) more striking than in the fathers (p=0.004, OR (transmission) =1.67) for VAX1 marker rs7078160 in the combined Mongolian and Japanese samples when all cleft types were combined. The rs6659735 trinucleotide marker in PAX7 was significantly associated with all the US cleft groups combined (p=0.007 in all clefts and p=0.02 in CL(P)). Eight rare missense mutations found in PAX7 and two rare missense mutations in VAX1. Our study replicated previous GWAS findings for markers in VAX1 in the Asian population, and identified rare variants in PAX7 and VAX1 that may contribute to the etiology of CL(P). Determining the role of rare variants clearly warrants further investigation.
PMCID: PMC3634899  PMID: 23463464
Caries research  2012;46(3):177-184.
Dental caries remains the most common chronic childhood disease. Despite strong evidence of genetic components, there have been few studies of candidate genes and caries. In this analysis we tried to assess genetic and environmental factors contributing to childhood caries in the Iowa Fluoride Study. Environmental factors (age, sex, race, tooth-brushing frequencies and water fluoride level) and three dental caries scores (d2fs-total, d2fs-pit/fissure, and d2fs-smooth surface) were assessed in 575 unrelated children (mean age=5.2 years). Regression analyses were applied to assess environmental correlates. The Family Based Association Test was used to test genetic associations for 23 SNP markers in 7 caries candidate genes on 333 Caucasian parent-child trios. We evaluated the associations between caries status and the level of both single SNPs and multiple SNPs (haplotype) respectively. Permutation procedure was performed for correction of inflated type-I errors due to multiple testing. Age, tooth-brushing frequencies and water fluoride level were significantly correlated to at least one carious score. Caries on pit and fissure surfaces was substantially higher than on smooth surfaces (61% vs. 39%). SNPs in three genes (DSPP, KLK4, and AQP5) showed consistent associations with protection against caries. Of note, KLK4 and AQP5 were also highlighted by subsequent haplotype analysis. Our results support the concept that genes can modify the susceptibility of caries in children. Replication analysis in independent cohorts is highly needed in order to verify the validity of our findings.
PMCID: PMC3580152  PMID: 22508493
dental caries; genetics; children; candidate gene; association analysis
We performed a genome wide association analysis of maternally-mediated genetic effects and parent-of-origin effects on risk of orofacial clefting using over 2,000 case-parent triads collected through an international cleft consortium. We used log-linear regression models to test individual SNPs. For SNPs with a p-value <10−5 for maternal genotypic effects, we also applied a haplotype-based method, TRIMM, to extract potential information from clusters of correlated SNPs. None of the SNPs were significant at the genome wide level. Our results suggest neither maternal genome nor parent of origin effects play major roles in the etiology of orofacial clefting in our sample. This finding is consistent with previous genetic studies and recent population-based cohort studies in Norway and Denmark, which showed no apparent difference between mother-to-offspring and father-to-offspring recurrence of clefting. We, however, cannot completely rule out maternal genome or parent of origin effects as risk factors because very small effects might not be detectable with our sample size, they may influence risk through interactions with environmental exposures or may act through a more complex network of interacting genes. Thus the most promising SNPs identified by this study may still be worth further investigation.
PMCID: PMC3617127  PMID: 22419666
GWAS; CL/P; CP; maternal genes; parent-of-origin; family-based study; association study

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