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Am J Hum Genet. 2003 Dec;73(6):1316-29. Epub 2003 Nov 20.

Inference on haplotype effects in case-control studies using unphased genotype data.

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Department of Human Genetics, Emory University, Atlanta, GA, 30322, USA.


A variety of statistical methods exist for detecting haplotype-disease association through use of genetic data from a case-control study. Since such data often consist of unphased genotypes (resulting in haplotype ambiguity), such statistical methods typically apply the expectation-maximization (EM) algorithm for inference. However, the majority of these methods fail to perform inference on the effect of particular haplotypes or haplotype features on disease risk. Since such inference is valuable, we develop a retrospective likelihood for estimating and testing the effects of specific features of single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP)-based haplotypes on disease risk using unphased genotype data from a case-control study. Our proposed method has a flexible structure that allows, among other choices, modeling of multiplicative, dominant, and recessive effects of specific haplotype features on disease risk. In addition, our method relaxes the requirement of Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium of haplotype frequencies in case subjects, which is typically required of EM-based haplotype methods. Also, our method easily accommodates missing SNP information. Finally, our method allows for asymptotic, permutation-based, or bootstrap inference. We apply our method to case-control SNP genotype data from the Finland-United States Investigation of Non-Insulin-Dependent Diabetes Mellitus (FUSION) Genetics study and identify two haplotypes that appear to be significantly associated with type 2 diabetes. Using the FUSION data, we assess the accuracy of asymptotic P values by comparing them with P values obtained from a permutation procedure. We also assess the accuracy of asymptotic confidence intervals for relative-risk parameters for haplotype effects, by a simulation study based on the FUSION data.

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