University of Michigan Center for Statistical 


Joint Modeling of Linkage and Association: Identifying SNPs Responsible for a Linkage Signal.

Li M, Boehnke M and Abecasis GR

Am J Hum Genet (2005) 76:934-49

Once genetic linkage has been identified for a complex disease, the next step is often association analysis, in which single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) within the linkage region are genotyped and tested for association with the disease. If a SNP shows evidence of association, it is useful to know whether the linkage result can be explained, in part or in full, by the candidate SNP. We propose a novel approach that quantifies the degree of linkage disequilibrium (LD) between the candidate SNP and the putative disease locus through joint modeling of linkage and association. We describe a simple likelihood of the marker data conditional on the trait data for a sample of affected sib pairs, with disease penetrances and disease-SNP haplotype frequencies as parameters. We estimate model parameters by maximum likelihood and propose two likelihood-ratio tests to characterize the relationship of the candidate SNP and the disease locus. The first test assesses whether the candidate SNP and the disease locus are in linkage equilibrium so that the SNP plays no causal role in the linkage signal. The second test assesses whether the candidate SNP and the disease locus are in complete LD so that the SNP or a marker in complete LD with it may account fully for the linkage signal. Our method also yields a genetic model that includes parameter estimates for disease-SNP haplotype frequencies and the degree of disease-SNP LD. Our method provides a new tool for detecting linkage and association and can be extended to study designs that include unaffected family members.




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