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BMC Proc. 2011 Nov 29;5 Suppl 9:S10. doi: 10.1186/1753-6561-5-S9-S10.

Detection of associations with rare and common SNPs for quantitative traits: a nonparametric Bayes-based approach.

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1
Division of Biostatistics and Epidemiology, Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, 3333 Burnet Avenue, Cincinnati, OH 45229, USA. lili.ding@cchmc.org.

Abstract

We propose a nonparametric Bayes-based clustering algorithm to detect associations with rare and common single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) for quantitative traits. Unlike current methods, our approach identifies associations with rare genetic variants at the variant level, not the gene level. In this method, we use a Dirichlet process prior for the distribution of SNP-specific regression coefficients, conduct hierarchical clustering with a distance measure derived from posterior pairwise probabilities of two SNPs having the same regression coefficient, and explore data-driven approaches to select the number of clusters. SNPs falling inside the largest cluster have relatively low or close to zero estimates of regression coefficients and are considered not associated with the trait. SNPs falling outside the largest cluster have relatively high estimates of regression coefficients and are considered potential risk variants. Using the data from the Genetic Analysis Workshop 17, we successfully detected associations with both rare and common SNPs for a quantitative trait. We conclude that our method provides a novel and broadly applicable strategy for obtaining association results with a reasonably low proportion of false discovery and that it can be routinely used in resequencing studies.

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