Capitalizing on admixture in genome-wide association studies: A two-stage testing procedure and application to height in African-Americans

Academic Article


  • As genome-wide association studies expand beyond populations of European ancestry, the role of admixture will become increasingly important in the continued discovery and fine-mapping of variation influencing complex traits. Although admixture is commonly viewed as a confounding influence in association studies, approaches such as admixture mapping have demonstrated its ability to highlight disease susceptibility regions of the genome. In this study, we illustrate a powerful two-stage testing strategy designed to uncover trait-associated single nucleotide polymorphisms in the presence of ancestral allele frequency differentiation. In the first stage, we conduct an association scan by using predicted genotypic values based on regional admixture estimates. We then select a subset of promising markers for inclusion in a second-stage analysis, where association is tested between the observed genotype and the phenotype conditional on the predicted genotype. We prove that, under the null hypothesis, the test statistics used in each stage are orthogonal and asymptotically independent. Using simulated data designed to mimic African-American populations in the case of a quantitative trait, we show that our two-stage procedure maintains appropriate control of the family wise error rate and has higher power under realistic effect sizes than the one-stage testing procedure in which all markers are tested for association simultaneously with control of admixture. We apply the proposed procedure to a study of height in 201 African-Americans genotyped at 108 ancestry informative markers. The two-stage procedure identified two statistically significant markers rs1985080 (PTHB1/BBS9) and rs952718 (ABCA12). PTHBl/BBS9\s downregulated by parathyroid hormone in osteoblastic cells and is thought to be involved in parathyroid hormone action in bones and may play a role in height. ABCA12 is a member of the superfamily of ATP-binding cassette transporters and its potential involvement in height is unclear. © 2011 Kang, Gao, Shete, Redden, Chang, Rebbeck, Barnholtz-Sloan, Pajewski, Allison.
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    Author List

  • Kang G; Gao G; Shete S; Redden DT; Chang BL; Rebbeck TR; Barnholtz-Sloan JS; Pajewski NM; Allison DB
  • Volume

  • 2
  • Issue

  • MAR