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Genet Epidemiol. 2012 Feb;36(2):88-98. doi: 10.1002/gepi.21602.

SVM-based generalized multifactor dimensionality reduction approaches for detecting gene-gene interactions in family studies.

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Division of Biostatistics and Bioinformatics, Institute of Population Health Sciences, National Health Research Institutes, Miaoli, Taiwan, ROC.


Gene-gene interaction plays an important role in the etiology of complex diseases, which may exist without a genetic main effect. Most current statistical approaches, however, focus on assessing an interaction effect in the presence of the gene's main effects. It would be very helpful to develop methods that can detect not only the gene's main effects but also gene-gene interaction effects regardless of the existence of the gene's main effects while adjusting for confounding factors. In addition, when a disease variant is rare or when the sample size is quite limited, the statistical asymptotic properties are not applicable; therefore, approaches based on a reasonable and applicable computational framework would be practical and frequently applied. In this study, we have developed an extended support vector machine (SVM) method and an SVM-based pedigree-based generalized multifactor dimensionality reduction (PGMDR) method to study interactions in the presence or absence of main effects of genes with an adjustment for covariates using limited samples of families. A new test statistic is proposed for classifying the affected and the unaffected in the SVM-based PGMDR approach to improve performance in detecting gene-gene interactions. Simulation studies under various scenarios have been performed to compare the performances of the proposed and the original methods. The proposed and original approaches have been applied to a real data example for illustration and comparison. Both the simulation and real data studies show that the proposed SVM and SVM-based PGMDR methods have great prediction accuracies, consistencies, and power in detecting gene-gene interactions.

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