Detecting rare and common variants for complex traits: sibpair and odds ratio weighted sum statistics (SPWSS, ORWSS)



It is generally known that risk variants segregate together with a disease within families, but this information has not been used in the existing statistical methods for detecting rare variants. Here we introduce two weighted sum statistics that can apply to either genome-wide association data or resequencing data for identifying rare disease variants: weights calculated based on sibpairs and odd ratios, respectively. We evaluated the two methods via extensive simulations under different disease models. We compared the proposed methods with the weighted sum statistic (WSS) proposed by Madsen and Browning, keeping the same genotyping or resequencing cost. Our methods clearly demonstrate more statistical power than the WSS. In addition, we found that using sibpair information can increase power over using only unrelated samples by more than 40%. We applied our methods to the Framingham Heart Study (FHS) and Wellcome Trust Case Control Consortium (WTCCC) hypertension datasets. Although we did not identify any genes as reaching a genome-wide significance level, we found variants in the candidate gene angiotensinogen significantly associated with hypertension at P = 6.9 × 10−4, whereas the most significant single SNP association evidence is P = 0.063. We further applied the odds ratio weighted method to the IFIH1 gene for type-1 diabetes in the WTCCC data. Our method yielded a P-value of 4.82 × 10−4, much more significant than that obtained by haplotype-based methods. We demonstrated that family data are extremely informative in searching for rare variants underlying complex traits, and the odds ratio weighted sum statistic is more efficient than currently existing methods. Genet. Epidemiol. 2011. © 2011 Wiley-Liss, Inc. 35:398-409, 2011