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Am J Hum Genet. 2000 Feb;66(2):659-73.

Haplotype fine mapping by evolutionary trees.

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Department of Statistics, Carnegie Mellon University, 5000 Forbes Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15213, USA.


To refine the location of a disease gene within the bounds provided by linkage analysis, many scientists use the pattern of linkage disequilibrium between the disease allele and alleles at nearby markers. We describe a method that seeks to refine location by analysis of "disease" and "normal" haplotypes, thereby using multivariate information about linkage disequilibrium. Under the assumption that the disease mutation occurs in a specific gap between adjacent markers, the method first combines parsimony and likelihood to build an evolutionary tree of disease haplotypes, with each node (haplotype) separated, by a single mutational or recombinational step, from its parent. If required, latent nodes (unobserved haplotypes) are incorporated to complete the tree. Once the tree is built, its likelihood is computed from probabilities of mutation and recombination. When each gap between adjacent markers is evaluated in this fashion and these results are combined with prior information, they yield a posterior probability distribution to guide the search for the disease mutation. We show, by evolutionary simulations, that an implementation of these methods, called "FineMap," yields substantial refinement and excellent coverage for the true location of the disease mutation. Moreover, by analysis of hereditary hemochromatosis haplotypes, we show that FineMap can be robust to genetic heterogeneity.

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