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BMC Genet. 2006 Apr 20;7:21.

Allele frequency misspecification: effect on power and Type I error of model-dependent linkage analysis of quantitative traits under random ascertainment.

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  • 1Department of Genetics, Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center, CSRB 6-16, New Orleans, LA 70112, USA.



Studies of model-based linkage analysis show that trait or marker model misspecification leads to decreasing power or increasing Type I error rate. An increase in Type I error rate is seen when marker related parameters (e.g., allele frequencies) are misspecified and ascertainment is through the trait, but lod-score methods are expected to be robust when ascertainment is random (as is often the case in linkage studies of quantitative traits). In previous studies, the power of lod-score linkage analysis using the "correct" generating model for the trait was found to increase when the marker allele frequencies were misspecified and parental data were missing. An investigation of Type I error rates, conducted in the absence of parental genotype data and with misspecification of marker allele frequencies, showed that an inflation in Type I error rate was the cause of at least part of this apparent increased power. To investigate whether the observed inflation in Type I error rate in model-based LOD score linkage was due to sampling variation, the trait model was estimated from each sample using REGCHUNT, an automated segregation analysis program used to fit models by maximum likelihood using many different sets of initial parameter estimates.


The Type I error rates observed using the trait models generated by REGCHUNT were usually closer to the nominal levels than those obtained when assuming the generating trait model.


This suggests that the observed inflation of Type I error upon misspecification of marker allele frequencies is at least partially due to sampling variation. Thus, with missing parental genotype data, lod-score linkage is not as robust to misspecification of marker allele frequencies as has been commonly thought.

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