Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Am J Hum Genet. 2002 Feb;70(2):461-71. Epub 2002 Jan 8.

A perspective on epistasis: limits of models displaying no main effect.

Author information

  • 1Department of Psychiatry, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, MO 63110-1093, USA.


The completion of a draft sequence of the human genome and the promise of rapid single-nucleotide-polymorphism-genotyping technologies have resulted in a call for the abandonment of linkage studies in favor of genome scans for association. However, there exists a large class of genetic models for which this approach will fail: purely epistatic models with no additive or dominance variation at any of the susceptibility loci. As a result, traditional association methods (such as case/control, measured genotype, and transmission/disequilibrium test [TDT]) will have no power if the loci are examined individually. In this article, we examine this class of models, delimiting the range of genetic determination and recurrence risks for two-, three-, and four-locus purely epistatic models. Our study reveals that these models, although giving rise to no additive or dominance variation, do give rise to increased allele sharing between affected sibs. Thus, a genome scan for linkage could detect genomic subregions harboring susceptibility loci. We also discuss some simple multilocus extensions of single-locus analysis methods, including a conditional form of the TDT.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Elsevier Science Icon for PubMed Central
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk