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Author: Sunyoung Shin

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Annotation Regression for Genome-Wide Association Studies with an Application to Psychiatric Genomic Consortium Data

Created on 25th April 2016

Sunyoung Shin; Sunduz Keles;

Although genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have been successful at finding thousands of disease-associated genetic variants (GVs), identifying causal variants and elucidating the mechanisms by which genotypes influence phenotypes are critical open questions. A key challenge is that a large percentage of disease-associated GVs are potential regulatory GVs located in noncoding regions, making them difficult to interpret. Recent research efforts focus on going beyond annotating GVs by integrating functional annotation data with GWAS to prioritize GVs. However, applicability of these approaches are challenged by high dimensionality and heterogeneity of functional annotation data. Furthermore, existing methods often assume global associations of GVs with annotation data. This strong assumption is susceptible to violations for GVs involved in many complex diseases. To address these issues, we develop a general regression framework, named Annotation Regression or GWAS (ARoG). ARoG is based on finite mixture of linear regression models where GWAS association measures are viewed as responses and functional annotations as predictors. This mixture framework addresses heterogeneity of impacts of GVs by grouping them into clusters and high dimensionality of the functional annotations by enabling annotation selection within each cluster. ARoG employs permutation testing to evaluate the significance of selected annotations. Computational experiments indicate that ARoG can discover distinct associations between disease risk and functional annotations. Application of ARoG to autism and schizophrenia data from Psychiatric Genomics Consortium led to identification of GVs that significantly affect interactions of several transcription factors with DNA as potential mechanisms contributing to these disorders.

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