• epistasis;
  • statistical method;
  • binary trait;
  • genome-wide association study

The detection of gene-gene interactions (i.e., epistasis) in the human genome is becoming decisive for the complete characterization of the genetic factors associated with complex binary traits. Despite the fact that many methods have been developed to address this challenging issue, their performance still remains insufficient. We will show how case and control groups store complementary information regarding interactions, and the use of this fundamental property in the design of a new, rapid, and highly powerful epistasis analysis method. Unlike previous approaches where statistical methods are tested over a very limited range of situations, we have performed an exhaustive evaluation of the power of our new method. To this end, we also propose a more comprehensive interpretation of epistasis in which genotype interactions may be of risk, protective, or neutral. In this extended view of genetic interactions, we demonstrate that our method has superior performance than existing approaches, thus, providing a highly powerful tool for the identification of gene-gene interactions associated with binary traits.