Introductory guide to the statistics of molecular genetics
Version of Record online: 12 AUG 2005
Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry
Volume 46, Issue 10, pages 1042–1044, October 2005
How to Cite
Eley, T. C. and Rijsdijk, F. (2005), Introductory guide to the statistics of molecular genetics. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 46: 1042–1044. doi: 10.1111/j.1469-7610.2005.01523.x
- Issue online: 12 AUG 2005
- Version of Record online: 12 AUG 2005
- Manuscript accepted 25 April 2005
- Quantitative trait loci (QTLs);
- identity-by-descent (IBD);
- population stratification
Background: This introductory guide presents the main two analytical approaches used by molecular geneticists: linkage and association.
Methods: Traditional linkage and association methods are described, along with more recent advances in methodologies such as those using a variance components approach.
Results: New methods are being developed all the time but the core principles of linkage and association remain the same. The basis of linkage is the transmission of a marker along with a disease within families, whereas association is based on the comparison of marker frequencies in case and control groups.
Conclusions: It is becoming increasingly clear that effect sizes of individual markers on diseases and traits are likely to be very small. As such, much greater power is needed, and correspondingly greater sample sizes. Although non-replication is still a problem, molecular genetic studies in some areas such as attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are starting to show greater convergence. Epidemiologists and other researchers with large well-characterized samples will be well placed to use these methods. Inter-disciplinary studies can then ask far more interesting questions such as those relating to developmental, multivariate and gene–environment interaction hypotheses.