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Hum Genet. 2012 Oct;131(10):1555-63. doi: 10.1007/s00439-012-1190-2. Epub 2012 Jun 20.

The role of large pedigrees in an era of high-throughput sequencing.

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  • 1Department of Biostatistics, University of Washington, Seattle, WA 98195-7720, USA.


Rare variation is the current frontier in human genetics. The large pedigree design is practical, efficient, and well-suited for investigating rare variation. In large pedigrees, specific rare variants that co-segregate with a trait will occur in sufficient numbers so that effects can be measured, and evidence for association can be evaluated, by making use of methods that fully use the pedigree information. Evidence from linkage analysis can focus investigation, both reducing the multiple testing burden and expanding the variants that can be evaluated and followed up, as recent studies have shown. The large pedigree design requires only a small fraction of the sample size needed to identify rare variants of interest in population-based designs, and many highly suitable, well-understood, and available statistical and computational tools already exist. Samples consisting of large pedigrees with existing rich phenotype and genome scan data should be prime candidates for high-throughput sequencing in the search of the determinants of complex traits.

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