University of Michigan Center for Statistical 


Single nucleotide polymorphism and linkage disequilibrium within the TCR alpha/delta locus.

Moffatt MF, Traherne JA, Abecasis GR and Cookson WO

Hum Mol Genet (2000) 9:1011-1019

Much attention is being given to the identification of common disease genes through whole-genome linkage disequilibrium (LD) screens with single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs). Simulation studies have suggested that useful LD is unlikely to extend beyond 3 kb, and that > 500 000 SNPs may be needed for comprehensive coverage of the genome. The TCR alpha/delta locus on chromosome 14q contains many V, J and D segments that combine with constant domains to produce either an alpha or a delta chain of the T cell receptor. Multiple SNPs have been recognized within the V segments, and it has been suggested that variation within the locus may modify the course of autoimmune and allergic diseases. We have examined LD within an 850 kb section of the TCR alpha/delta locus on chromosome 14q by typing 24 V gene segment SNPs and two microsatellites. One hundred and fifty-nine nuclear and extended families were genotyped in order to derive haplotypes, and the pair-wise LD between SNPs was investigated in 600 haplotypes from unrelated individuals (the parents). The mean extent of useful LD was much greater than suggested by simulations: significant LD was relatively common at 250 kb and was detectable beyond 500 kb. The mean extent of LD was twice as far between alleles of low frequency than between common alleles. The distribution of LD was highly irregular and concentrated in three distinct islands. The results differ from those obtained by simulation, and if they are typical of other genomic regions, suggest that the minimum number of markers necessary for comprehensive LD mapping may be reduced by at least an order of magnitude.


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