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Behav Genet. 2010 Jul;40(4):564-71. doi: 10.1007/s10519-010-9348-y. Epub 2010 Mar 16.

"Forward genetics" as a method to maximize power and cost-efficiency in studies of human complex traits.

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  • 1Rudolf Magnus Institute of Neuroscience, Department of Psychiatry, University Medical Centre Utrecht, Utrecht, The Netherlands.


There is increasing interest in methods to disentangle the relationship between genotype and (endo)phenotypes in human complex traits. We present a population-based method of increasing the power and cost-efficiency of studies by selecting random individuals with a particular genotype and then assessing the accompanying quantitative phenotypes. Using statistical derivations, power- and cost graphs we show that such a "forward genetics" approach can lead to a marked reduction in sample size and costs. This approach is particularly apt for implementing in epidemiological studies for which DNA is already available but the phenotyping costs are high.

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