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Am J Hum Genet. 2003 May;72(5):1213-20. Epub 2003 Apr 14.

Cost-effective designs for linkage disequilibrium mapping of complex traits.

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Center for Neurobehavioral Genetics, University of California at Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA 90095, USA.


The current development of densely spaced collections of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) will lead to genomewide association studies for a wide range of diseases in many different populations. Determinations of the appropriate number of SNPs to genotype involve a balancing of power and cost. Several variables are important in these determinations. We show that there are different combinations of sample size and marker density that can be expected to achieve the same power. Within certain bounds, investigators can choose between designs with more subjects and fewer markers or those with more markers and fewer subjects. Which designs are more cost-effective depends on the cost of phenotyping versus the cost of genotyping. We show that, under the assumption of a set cost for genotyping, one can calculate a "threshold cost" for phenotyping; when phenotyping costs per subject are less than this threshold, designs with more subjects will be more cost-effective than designs with more markers. This framework for determining a cost-effective study will aid in the planning of studies, especially if there are choices to be made with respect to phenotyping methods or study populations.

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