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Am J Hum Genet. 2011 Jul 15;89(1):82-93. doi: 10.1016/j.ajhg.2011.05.029. Epub 2011 Jul 7.

Rare-variant association testing for sequencing data with the sequence kernel association test.

Author information

1
Department of Biostatistics, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 27599, USA.

Abstract

Sequencing studies are increasingly being conducted to identify rare variants associated with complex traits. The limited power of classical single-marker association analysis for rare variants poses a central challenge in such studies. We propose the sequence kernel association test (SKAT), a supervised, flexible, computationally efficient regression method to test for association between genetic variants (common and rare) in a region and a continuous or dichotomous trait while easily adjusting for covariates. As a score-based variance-component test, SKAT can quickly calculate p values analytically by fitting the null model containing only the covariates, and so can easily be applied to genome-wide data. Using SKAT to analyze a genome-wide sequencing study of 1000 individuals, by segmenting the whole genome into 30 kb regions, requires only 7 hr on a laptop. Through analysis of simulated data across a wide range of practical scenarios and triglyceride data from the Dallas Heart Study, we show that SKAT can substantially outperform several alternative rare-variant association tests. We also provide analytic power and sample-size calculations to help design candidate-gene, whole-exome, and whole-genome sequence association studies.

PMID:
21737059
PMCID:
PMC3135811
DOI:
10.1016/j.ajhg.2011.05.029
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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