Improving power in genetic-association studies via wavelet transformation

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Background: A key to increasing the power of multilocus association tests is to reduce the number of degrees of freedom by suppressing noise from data. One of the difficulties is to decide how much noise to suppress. An often overlooked problem is that commonly used association tests based on genotype data cannot utilize the genetic information contained in spatial ordering of SNPs (see proof in the Appendix), which may prevent them from achieving higher power. Results: We develop a score test based on wavelet transform with empirical Bayesian thresholding. Extensive simulation studies are carried out under various LD structures as well as using HapMap data from many different chromosomes for both qualitative and quantitative traits. Simulation results show that the proposed test automatically adjusts the level of noise suppression according to LD structures, and it is able to consistently achieve higher or similar powers than many commonly used association tests including the principle component regression method (PCReg). Conclusion: The wavelet-based score test automatically suppresses the right amount of noise and uses the information contained in spatial ordering of SNPs to achieve higher power. © 2009 Jiang et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

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BMC Genetics