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Incorporating linkage information into a common disease/rare variant framework


  • Anthony L. Hinrichs,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Psychiatry, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, MO
    • Washington University School of Medicine, 660 South Euclid, Box 8134, St. Louis, MO 63110
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  • Brian K. Suarez

    1. Department of Psychiatry, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, MO
    2. Department of Genetics, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, MO
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Recent developments in sequencing technology have allowed the investigation of the common disease/rare variant hypothesis. In the Genetic Analysis Workshop 17 data set, we have sequence data on both unrelated individuals and eight large extended pedigrees with simulated quantitative and qualitative phenotypes. Group 11, whose focus was incorporating linkage information, considered several different ways to use the extended pedigrees to identify causal genes and variants. The first issue was the use of standard linkage or identity-by-descent information to identify regions containing causal rare variants. We found that rare variants of large effect segregating through pedigrees were precisely the bailiwick of linkage analysis. For a common disease, we anticipate many risk loci, so a heterogeneity linkage analysis or an analysis of a single pedigree at a time may be useful. The second issue was using pedigree data to identify individuals for sequencing. If one can identify linked regions and even carriers of risk haplotypes, the sequencing will be substantially more efficient. In fact, sequencing only 2.5% of the genome in carefully selected individuals can detect 52% of the risk variants that would be detected through whole-exome sequencing in a large number of unrelated individuals. Finally, we found that linkage information from pedigrees can provide weights for case-control association tests. We also found that pedigree-based association tests have the same issues of binning variants and variant counting as those in tests of unrelated individuals. Clearly, when pedigrees are available, they can provide great assistance in the search for rare variants that influence common disorders. Genet. Epidemiol. 35:S74–S79, 2011. © 2011 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.