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Am J Hum Genet. 1997 Nov;61(5):1189-99.

Detection of gene-environment interactions in joint segregation and linkage analysis.

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Department of Preventive Medicine, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA 90033, USA.


We compare approaches for analysis of gene-environment (G x E) interaction, using segregation and joint segregation and linkage analyses of a quantitative trait. Analyses of triglyceride levels in a single large pedigree demonstrate the two methods and show evidence for a significant interaction (P=.015 when segregation analysis is used; P=.006 when joint analysis is used) between a codominant major gene and body-mass index. Genotype-specific correlation coefficients, between triglyceride levels and body-mass index, estimated from the joint model are rAA=.72, rAa=.49, and raa=. 20. Several simulation studies indicate that joint segregation and linkage analysis leads to less-biased and more-efficient estimates of a G x E-interaction effect, compared with segregation analysis alone. Depending on the heterozygosity of the marker locus and its proximity to the trait locus, we found joint analysis to be as much as 70% more efficient than segregation analysis, for estimation of a G x E-interaction effect. Over a variety of parameter combinations, joint analysis also led to moderate (5%-10%) increases in power to detect the interaction. On the basis of these results, we suggest the use of combined segregation and linkage analysis for improved estimation of G x E-interaction effects when the underlying trait gene is unmeasured.

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