LORSEN: Fast and Efficient eQTL Mapping With Low Rank Penalized Regression

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Characterization of genetic variations that are associated with gene expression levels is essential to understand cellular mechanisms that underline human complex traits. Expression quantitative trait loci (eQTL) mapping attempts to identify genetic variants, such as single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), that affect the expression of one or more genes. With the availability of a large volume of gene expression data, it is necessary and important to develop fast and efficient statistical and computational methods to perform eQTL mapping for such large scale data. In this paper, we proposed a new method, the low rank penalized regression method (LORSEN), for eQTL mapping. We evaluated and compared the performance of LORSEN with two existing methods for eQTL mapping using extensive simulations as well as real data from the HapMap3 project. Simulation studies showed that our method outperformed two commonly used methods for eQTL mapping, LORS and FastLORS, in many scenarios in terms of area under the curve (AUC). We illustrated the usefulness of our method by applying it to SNP variants data and gene expression levels on four chromosomes from the HapMap3 Project.

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Frontiers in Genetics