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Bioinformatics. 2012 Oct 15;28(20):2703-4. doi: 10.1093/bioinformatics/bts499. Epub 2012 Aug 22.

SimRare: a program to generate and analyze sequence-based data for association studies of quantitative and qualitative traits.

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Department of Molecular and Human Genetics, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX 77030, USA.



Currently, there is great interest in detecting complex trait rare variant associations using next-generation sequence data. On a monthly basis, new rare variant association methods are published. It is difficult to evaluate these methods because there is no standard to generate data and often comparisons are biased. In order to fairly compare rare variant association methods, it is necessary to generate data using realistic population demographic and phenotypic models.


SimRare is an interactive program that integrates generation of rare variant genotype/phenotype data and evaluation of association methods using a unified platform. Variant data are generated for gene regions using forward-time simulation that incorporates realistic population demographic and evolutionary scenarios. Phenotype data can be obtained for both case-control and quantitative traits. SimRare has a user-friendly interface that allows for easy entry of genetic and phenotypic parameters. Novel rare variant association methods implemented in R can also be imported into SimRare, to evaluate their performance and compare results, e.g. power and Type I error, with other currently available methods both numerically and graphically.

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