We previously reported that asthmatic children with GSTM1 null genotype may be more susceptible to the acute effect of ozone on the small airways and might benefit from antioxidant supplementation. This study aims to assess the acute effect of ozone on lung function (FEF25-75) in asthmatic children according to dietary intake of vitamin C and the number of putative risk alleles in three antioxidant genes: GSTM1, GSTP1 (rs1695), and NQO1 (rs1800566).
257 asthmatic children from two cohort studies conducted in Mexico City were included. Stratified linear mixed models with random intercepts and random slopes on ozone were used. Potential confounding by ethnicity was assessed. Analyses were conducted under single gene and genotype score approaches.
The change in FEF25-75 per interquartile range (60 ppb) of ozone in persistent asthmatic children with low vitamin C intake and GSTM1 null was −91.2 ml/s (p = 0.06). Persistent asthmatic children with 4 to 6 risk alleles and low vitamin C intake showed an average decrement in FEF25-75 of 97.2 ml/s per 60 ppb of ozone (p = 0.03). In contrast in children with 1 to 3 risk alleles, acute effects of ozone on FEF25-75 did not differ by vitamin C intake.
Our results provide further evidence that asthmatic children predicted to have compromised antioxidant defense by virtue of genetic susceptibility combined with deficient antioxidant intake may be at increased risk of adverse effects of ozone on pulmonary function.
Air pollution; Asthmatic children; Antioxidant genes; Mexico City; Vitamin C
Genome-wide association studies have been able to identify disease associations with many common variants; however most of the estimated genetic contribution explained by these variants appears to be very modest. Rare variants are thought to have larger effect sizes compared to common SNPs but effects of rare variants cannot be tested in the GWAS setting. Here we propose a novel method to test for association of rare variants obtained by sequencing in family-based samples by collapsing the standard family-based association test (FBAT) statistic over a region of interest. We also propose a suitable weighting scheme so that low frequency SNPs that may be enriched in functional variants can be upweighted compared to common variants. Using simulations we show that the family-based methods perform at par with the population-based methods under no population stratification. By construction, family-based tests are completely robust to population stratification; we show that our proposed methods remain valid even when population stratification is present.
Two recent metaanalyses of genome-wide association studies conducted by the CHARGE and SpiroMeta consortia identified novel loci yielding evidence of association at or near genome-wide significance (GWS) with FEV1 and FEV1/FVC. We hypothesized that a subset of these markers would also be associated with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) susceptibility. Thirty-two single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in or near 17 genes in 11 previously identified GWS spirometric genomic regions were tested for association with COPD status in four COPD case-control study samples (NETT/NAS, the Norway case-control study, ECLIPSE, and the first 1,000 subjects in COPDGene; total sample size, 3,456 cases and 1,906 controls). In addition to testing the 32 spirometric GWS SNPs, we tested a dense panel of imputed HapMap2 SNP markers from the 17 genes located near the 32 GWS SNPs and in a set of 21 well studied COPD candidate genes. Of the previously identified GWS spirometric genomic regions, three loci harbored SNPs associated with COPD susceptibility at a 5% false discovery rate: the 4q24 locus including FLJ20184/INTS12/GSTCD/NPNT, the 6p21 locus including AGER and PPT2, and the 5q33 locus including ADAM19. In conclusion, markers previously associated at or near GWS with spirometric measures were tested for association with COPD status in data from four COPD case-control studies, and three loci showed evidence of association with COPD susceptibility at a 5% false discovery rate.
It is useful to have robust gene-environment interaction tests that can utilize a variety of family structures in an efficient way. This paper focuses on tests for gene-environment interaction in the presence of main genetic and environmental effects. The objective is to develop powerful tests that can combine trio data with parental genotypes and discordant sibships when parents genotypes are missing. We first make a modest improvement on a method for discordant sibs (discordant on phenotype), but the approach does not allow one to use families when all offspring are affected, e.g. trios. We then make a modest improvement on a Mendelian transmission-based approach that is inefficient when discordant sibs are available, but can be applied to any nuclear family. Finally, we propose a hybrid approach that utilizes the most efficient method for a specific family type, then combines over families. We utilize this hybrid approach to analyze a chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder dataset to test for gene-environment interaction in the Serpine2 gene with smoking. The methods are freely available in the R package fbati.
Gene-Environment Interaction; Family-Based Association Tests; Candidate Gene Analysis; Binary Trait; COPD; Serpine2
Compositional epistasis is said to be present when the effect of a genetic factor at one locus is masked by a variant at another locus. Although such compositional epistasis is not equivalent to the presence of an interaction in a statistical model, non-standard tests can sometimes be used to detect compositional epistasis. In this paper we consider empirical tests for compositional epistasis under models for the joint effect of two genetic factors which place no restrictions on the main effects of each factor but constrain the interactive effects of the two factors so as to be captured by a single parameter in the model. We describe the implications of these tests for cohort, case-control, case-only and family-based study designs and we illustrate the methods using an example of gene-gene interaction already reported in the literature.
Published studies suggest associations between circadian gene polymorphisms and bipolar I disorder (BPI), as well as schizoaffective disorder (SZA) and schizophrenia (SZ). The results are plausible, based on prior studies of circadian abnormalities. As replications have not been attempted uniformly, we evaluated representative, common polymorphisms in all three disorders.
We assayed 276 publicly available ‘tag’ single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) at 21 circadian genes among 523 patients with BPI, 527 patients with SZ/SZA, and 477 screened adult controls. Detected associations were evaluated in relation to two published genome-wide association studies (GWAS).
Using gene-based tests, suggestive associations were noted between EGR3 and BPI (p = 0.017), and between NPAS2 and SZ/SZA (p = 0.034). Three SNPs were associated with both sets of disorders (NPAS2: rs13025524 and rs11123857; RORB: rs10491929; p < 0.05). None of the associations remained significant following corrections for multiple comparisons. Approximately 15% of the analyzed SNPs overlapped with an independent study that conducted GWAS for BPI; suggestive overlap between the GWAS analyses and ours was noted at ARNTL.
Several suggestive, novel associations were detected with circadian genes and BPI and SZ/SZA, but the present analyses do not support associations with common polymorphisms that confer risk with odds ratios greater than 1.5. Additional analyses using adequately powered samples are warranted to further evaluate these results.
association; bipolar disorder; circadian; gene; schizoaffective disorder; schizophrenia
In clinical trials multiple outcomes are often used to assess treatment interventions. This paper presents an evaluation of likelihood-based methods for jointly testing treatment effects in clinical trials with multiple continuous outcomes. Specifically, we compare the power of joint tests of treatment effects obtained from joint models for the multiple outcomes with univariate tests based on modelling the outcomes separately. We also consider the power and bias of tests when data are missing, a common feature of many trials, especially in psychiatry. Our results suggest that joint tests capitalize on the correlation of multiple outcomes and are more powerful than standard univariate methods, especially when outcomes are missing completely at random. When outcomes are missing at random, test procedures based on correctly specified joint models are unbiased, while standard univariate procedures are not. Results of a simulation study are reported, and the methods are illustrated in an example from the Clinical Antipsychotic Trials of Intervention Effectiveness (CATIE) for schizophrenia.
joint tests; multiple outcomes; power; missing data; psychiatry
Investigators sometimes use information about a given variable obtained from multiple informants. We focus on estimating the effect of a predictor on a continuous outcome, when that predictor cannot be observed directly but is measured by two informants. We describe various approaches to using information from two informants to estimate a regression or correlation coefficient for the effect of the (true) predictor on the outcome. These approaches include methods we refer to as single informant, simple average, optimal weighted average, principal components analysis, and classical measurement error. Each of these five methods effectively uses a weighted average of the informants' reports as a proxy for the true predictor in calculating the correlation or regression coefficient. We compare the performance of these methods in simulation experiments that assume a rounded congeneric measurement model for the relationship between the informants' reports and a true predictor that is a mixture of zeros and positively-distributed continuous values. We also compare the methods' performance in a real data example -the relationship between vigorous physical activity (the predictor) and body mass index (the continuous outcome). The results of the simulations and the example suggest that the simple average is a reasonable choice when there are only two informants.
Genetic Analysis Workshop 17 (GAW17) provided a platform for evaluating existing statistical genetic methods and for developing novel methods to analyze rare variants that modulate complex traits. In this article, we present an overview of the 1000 Genomes Project exome data and simulated phenotype data that were distributed to GAW17 participants for analyses, the different issues addressed by the participants, and the process of preparation of manuscripts resulting from the discussions during the workshop.
Linkage- and association-based methods have been proposed for mapping disease-causing rare variants. Based on the family information provided in the Genetic Analysis Workshop 17 data set, we formulate a two-pronged approach that combines both methods. Using the identity-by-descent information provided for eight extended pedigrees (n = 697) and the simulated quantitative trait Q1, we explore various traditional nonparametric linkage analysis methods; the best result is obtained by assuming between-family heterogeneity and applying the Haseman-Elston regression to each pedigree separately. We discover strong signals from two genes in two different families and weaker signals for a third gene from two other families. As an exploratory approach, we apply an association test based on a modified family-based association test statistic to all rare variants (frequency < 1% or < 3%) designated as causal for Q1. Family-based association tests correctly identified causal single-nucleotide polymorphisms for four genes (KDR, VEGFA, VEGFC, and FLT1). Our results suggest that both linkage and association tests with families show promise for identifying rare variants.
Recent advances in next-generation sequencing technologies have made it possible to generate large amounts of sequence data with rare variants in a cost-effective way. Statistical methods that test variants individually are underpowered to detect rare variants, so it is desirable to perform association analysis of rare variants by combining the information from all variants. In this study, we use a Bayesian regression method to model all variants simultaneously to identify rare variants in a data set from Genetic Analysis Workshop 17. We studied the association between the quantitative risk traits Q1, Q2, and Q4 and the single-nucleotide polymorphisms and identified several positive single-nucleotide polymorphisms for traits Q1 and Q2. However, the model also generated several apparent false positives and missed many true positives, suggesting that there is room for improvement in this model.
In this article, we propose and explore a multivariate logistic regression model for analyzing multiple binary outcomes with incomplete covariate data where auxiliary information is available. The auxiliary data are extraneous to the regression model of interest but predictive of the covariate with missing data. describe how the auxiliary information can be incorporated into a regression model for a single binary outcome with missing covariates, and hence the efficiency of the regression estimators can be improved. We consider extending the method of Horton and Laird (2001) to the case of a multivariate logistic regression model for multiple correlated outcomes, and with missing covariates and completely observed auxiliary information. We demonstrate that in the case of moderate to strong associations among the multiple outcomes, one can achieve considerable gains in efficiency from estimators in a multivariate model as compared to the marginal estimators of the same parameters.
Asymptotic relative efficiency; Auxiliary information; Incomplete data; Logistic regression model; Missing covariates; Multiple outcomes
The recent emergence of massively parallel sequencing technologies has enabled an increasing number of human genome re-sequencing studies, notable among them being the 1000 Genomes Project. The main aim of these studies is to identify the yet unknown genetic variants in a genomic region, mostly low frequency variants (frequency less than 5%). We propose here a set of statistical tools that address how to optimally design such studies in order to increase the number of genetic variants we expect to discover. Within this framework, the tradeoff between lower coverage for more individuals and higher coverage for fewer individuals can be naturally solved.
The methods here are also useful for estimating the number of genetic variants missed in a discovery study performed at low coverage.
We show applications to simulated data based on coalescent models and to sequence data from the ENCODE project. In particular, we show the extent to which combining data from multiple populations in a discovery study may increase the number of genetic variants identified relative to studies on single populations.
species problem; variant discovery studies; sequencing technologies
R package is designed for developers of
R packages, to help rapidly, and sometimes fully automatically, create a graphical user interface for a command line
R package. The interface is built upon the
Tcl/Tk graphical interface included in
R. The package further facilitates the developer by loading in the help files from the command line functions to provide context sensitive help to the user with no additional effort from the developer. Passing a function as the argument to the routines in the fgui package creates a graphical interface for the function, and further options are available to tweak this interface for those who want more flexibility.
GUI; interface; fgui
When testing for genetic effects, failure to account for a gene-environment interaction can mask the true association effects of a genetic marker with disease. Family-based association tests are popular because they are completely robust to population substructure and model misspecification. However, when testing for an interaction, failure to model the main genetic effect correctly can lead to spurious results. Here we propose a family-based test for interaction that is robust to model misspecification, but still sensitive to an interaction effect, and can handle continuous covariates and missing parents. We extend the FBAT-I gene-environment interaction test for dichotomous traits to using both trios and sibships. We then compare this extension to joint tests of gene and gene-environment interaction, and compare the joint test additionally to the main effects test of the gene. Lastly we apply these three tests to a group of nuclear families ascertained according to affection with Bipolar Disorder.
genetic association; genetic interaction; family-based test; FBAT-I
We introduce a method of estimating disease prevalence from case-control family study data. Case-control family studies are performed to investigate the familial aggregation of disease; families are sampled via either a case or a control proband, and the resulting data contain information on disease status and covariates for the probands and their relatives. Here, we introduce estimators for overall prevalence and for covariate-stratum-specific (e.g., sex-specific) prevalence. These estimators combine the proportion of affected relatives of control probands with the proportion of affected relatives of case probands and are designed to yield approximately unbiased estimates of their population counterparts under certain commonly-made assumptions. We also introduce corresponding confidence intervals designed to have good coverage properties even for small prevalences. Next, we describe simulation experiments where our estimators and intervals were applied to case-control family data sampled from fictional populations with various levels of familial aggregation. At all aggregation levels, the resulting estimates varied closely and symmetrically around their population counterparts, and the resulting intervals had good coverage properties, even for small sample sizes. Finally, we discuss the assumptions required for our estimators to be approximately unbiased, highlighting situations where an alternative estimator based only on relatives of control probands may perform better.
Case-control family study; Population prevalence; Proband; Propositus method
Rapid advances in sequencing technologies set the stage for the large-scale medical sequencing efforts to be performed in the near future, with the goal of assessing the importance of rare variants in complex diseases. The discovery of new disease susceptibility genes requires powerful statistical methods for rare variant analysis. The low frequency and the expected large number of such variants pose great difficulties for the analysis of these data. We propose here a robust and powerful testing strategy to study the role rare variants may play in affecting susceptibility to complex traits. The strategy is based on assessing whether rare variants in a genetic region collectively occur at significantly higher frequencies in cases compared with controls (or vice versa). A main feature of the proposed methodology is that, although it is an overall test assessing a possibly large number of rare variants simultaneously, the disease variants can be both protective and risk variants, with moderate decreases in statistical power when both types of variants are present. Using simulations, we show that this approach can be powerful under complex and general disease models, as well as in larger genetic regions where the proportion of disease susceptibility variants may be small. Comparisons with previously published tests on simulated data show that the proposed approach can have better power than the existing methods. An application to a recently published study on Type-1 Diabetes finds rare variants in gene IFIH1 to be protective against Type-1 Diabetes.
Risk to common diseases, such as diabetes, heart disease, etc., is influenced by a complex interaction among genetic and environmental factors. Most of the disease-association studies conducted so far have focused on common variants, widely available on genotyping platforms. However, recent advances in sequencing technologies pave the way for large-scale medical sequencing studies with the goal of elucidating the role rare variants may play in affecting susceptibility to complex traits. The large number of rare variants and their low frequencies pose great challenges for the analysis of these data. We present here a novel testing strategy, based on a weighted-sum statistic, that is less sensitive than existing methods to the presence of both risk and protective variants in the genetic region under investigation. We show applications to simulated data and to a real dataset on Type-1 Diabetes.
We introduce a stepwise approach for family-based designs for selecting a set of markers in a gene that are independently associated with the disease. The approach is based on testing the effect of a set of markers conditional on another set of markers. Several likelihood-based approaches have been proposed for special cases, but no model-free based tests have been proposed. We propose two types of tests in a family-based framework that are applicable to arbitrary family structures and completely robust to population stratification. We propose methods for ascertained dichotomous traits and unascertained quantitative traits. We first propose a completely model-free extension of the FBAT main genetic effect test. Then, for power issues, we introduce two model-based tests, one for dichotomous traits and one for continuous traits. Lastly, we utilize these tests to analyze a continuous lung function phenotype as a proxy for asthma in the Childhood Asthma Management Program. The methods are implemented in the free R package fbati.
Binary trait; Candidate gene analysis; Family-based association tests; FBAT-C; Linkage disequilibrium (LD); Model-based test; Model-free test; Nuclear families; Quantitative trait
Longitudinal studies provide an important tool for analyzing traits that change over time depending on the individual characteristics and the environmental exposures. Complex quantitative traits, such as lung function, may change over time and appear to depend on both genetic and environmental factors, as well as on potential gene-environment interactions. There is a growing interest in modeling both marginal genetic effects and gene-environment interactions. In an admixed population, the use of traditional statistical models may fail to adjust for confounding by ethnicity, leading to bias in the genetic effect estimates. A variety of methods have been developed to account for genetic substructure of human populations. Family-based designs provide an important resource for avoiding confounding due to admixture. However to date, most genetic analyses have been applied to cross-sectional designs. In this paper we propose a methodology which aims to improve the assessment of main and gene-environment interaction effects by combining the advantages of both longitudinal studies for continuous phenotypes, and the family-based designs. This approach is based on an extension of Ordinary Linear Mixed Models for quantitative phenotypes which incorporates information from a case-parent design.
Our results indicate that using this method permit both main genetic and gene-environment interaction effects to be estimated without bias, even in the presence of population substructure.
gene-environment interaction; longitudinal phenotypes; power; bias; population substructure
Longitudinal studies are an important tool for analysing traits that change over time, depending on individual characteristics and environmental exposures. Complex quantitative traits, such as lung function, may change over time and appear to depend on genetic and environmental factors, as well as on potential gene-environment interactions. There is a growing interest in modelling both marginal genetic effects and gene-environment interactions. In an admixed population, the use of traditional statistical models may fail to adjust for confounding by ethnicity, leading to bias in the genetic effect estimates. A variety of methods have been developed to account for the genetic substructure of human populations. Family-based designs provide an important resource for avoiding confounding due to admixture. To date, however, most genetic analyses have been applied to cross-sectional designs. In this paper, we propose a methodology which aims to improve the assessment of main genetic effect and gene-environment interaction effects by combining the advantages of both longitudinal studies for continuous phenotypes, and the family-based designs. This approach is based on an extension of ordinary linear mixed models for quantitative phenotypes, which incorporates information from a case-parent design. Our results indicate that use of this method allows both main genetic and gene-environment interaction effects to be estimated without bias, even in the presence of population substructure.
gene-environment interaction; longitudinal phenotypes; power; bias; population substructure
Several family-based approaches have been previously proposed to enhance the power for testing genetic association when the traits are measured longitudinally or repeatedly. In this paper, we show that some of these FBAT approaches can be easily extended to accommodate incomplete data and remain unbiased tests. We also show that because of the nature of FBAT approaches, we can impute the missing phenotypes without biasing our tests and achieve higher power. We propose two imputation techniques based on E-M algorithm and the conditional mean model, respectively. Through simulation studies, these two imputation techniques are shown to have correct false positive rate and generally achieve higher power than complete case analysis or simple mean-imputation. Application of these approaches for testing an association between Body Mass Index and a previously reported candidate SNP confirms our results.
FBAT; Longitudinal Phenotype; Missing Data
Numerous studies have demonstrated associations between genetic markers and COPD, but results have been inconsistent. One reason may be heterogeneity in disease definition. Unsupervised learning approaches may assist in understanding disease heterogeneity.
We selected 31 phenotypic variables and 12 SNPs from five candidate genes in 308 subjects in the National Emphysema Treatment Trial (NETT) Genetics Ancillary Study cohort. We used factor analysis to select a subset of phenotypic variables, and then used cluster analysis to identify subtypes of severe emphysema. We examined the phenotypic and genotypic characteristics of each cluster.
We identified six factors accounting for 75% of the shared variability among our initial phenotypic variables. We selected four phenotypic variables from these factors for cluster analysis: 1) post-bronchodilator FEV1 percent predicted, 2) percent bronchodilator responsiveness, and quantitative CT measurements of 3) apical emphysema and 4) airway wall thickness. K-means cluster analysis revealed four clusters, though separation between clusters was modest: 1) emphysema predominant, 2) bronchodilator responsive, with higher FEV1; 3) discordant, with a lower FEV1 despite less severe emphysema and lower airway wall thickness, and 4) airway predominant. Of the genotypes examined, membership in cluster 1 (emphysema-predominant) was associated with TGFB1 SNP rs1800470.
Cluster analysis may identify meaningful disease subtypes and/or groups of related phenotypic variables even in a highly selected group of severe emphysema subjects, and may be useful for genetic association studies.
Results of behavioral genetic and molecular genetic studies have converged to suggest that genes substantially contribute to the development of attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), a common disorder that onsets in childhood. Yet, despite numerous linkage and candidate gene studies, strongly consistent and replicable association has eluded detection. To search for ADHD susceptibility genes, we genotyped approximately 600,000 SNPs in 958 ADHD affected family trios. After cleaning the data, we analyzed 438,784 SNPs in 2803 individuals comprising 909 complete trios using ADHD diagnosis as phenotype. We present the initial TDT findings as well as considerations for cleaning family-based TDT data. None of the SNP association tests achieved genome-wide significance, indicating that larger samples may be required to identify risk loci for ADHD. We additionally identify a systemic bias in family-based association, and suggest that variable missing genotype rates may be the source of this bias.
Several family-based approaches for testing genetic association with traits obtained from longitudinal or repeated measurement studies have been previously proposed. These approaches utilize the multivariate data more efficiently by using estimated optimal weights to combine univariate tests. We show that these FBAT approaches are still robust against hidden population stratification, but their power can be heavily affected since the estimated weights might provide poor approximation of the true theoretical optimal weights with the presence of population stratification. We introduce a permutation-based approach FBAT-MinP and an equal combination approach FBAT-EW, both of which do not involve the use of estimated weights. Through simulation studies, FBAT-MinP and FBAT-EW are shown to be powerful even in the presence of population stratification, when other approaches may substantially lose their power. An application of these approaches to the Childhood Asthma Management Program (CAMP) study data for testing an association between body mass index and a previously reported candidate SNP is given as an example.
A time-to-onset analysis for family-based samples was performed on the genomewide association (GWAS) data for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) to determine if associations exist with the age at onset of ADHD. The initial dataset consisted of 958 parent-offspring trios that were genotyped on the Perlegen 600,000 SNP array. After data cleaning procedures, 429,981 autosomal SNPs and 930 parent-offspring trios were used found suitable for use and a family-based logrank analysis was performed using that age at first ADHD symptoms as the quantitative trait of interest. No SNP achieved genome-wide significance, and the lowest p-values had a magnitude of 10−7. Several SNPs among a pre-specified list of candidate genes had nominal associations including SLC9A9, DRD1, ADRB2, SLC6A3, NFIL3, ADRB1, SYT1, HTR2A, ARRB2, and CHRNA4. Of these findings SLC9A9 stood out as a promising candidate, with nominally significant SNPs in six distinct regions of the gene.