Single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) selection for genotype-phenotype association studies

Qiqing Huang, The University of Texas Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences at Houston


With hundreds of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in a candidate gene and millions of SNPs across the genome, selecting an informative subset of SNPs to maximize the ability to detect genotype-phenotype association is of great interest and importance. In addition, with a large number of SNPs, analytic methods are needed that allow investigators to control the false positive rate resulting from large numbers of SNP genotype-phenotype analyses. This dissertation uses simulated data to explore methods for selecting SNPs for genotype-phenotype association studies. I examined the pattern of linkage disequilibrium (LD) across a candidate gene region and used this pattern to aid in localizing a disease-influencing mutation. The results indicate that the r2 measure of linkage disequilibrium is preferred over the common D′ measure for use in genotype-phenotype association studies. Using step-wise linear regression, the best predictor of the quantitative trait was not usually the single functional mutation. Rather it was a SNP that was in high linkage disequilibrium with the functional mutation. Next, I compared three strategies for selecting SNPs for application to phenotype association studies: based on measures of linkage disequilibrium, based on a measure of haplotype diversity, and random selection. The results demonstrate that SNPs selected based on maximum haplotype diversity are more informative and yield higher power than randomly selected SNPs or SNPs selected based on low pair-wise LD. The data also indicate that for genes with small contribution to the phenotype, it is more prudent for investigators to increase their sample size than to continuously increase the number of SNPs in order to improve statistical power. When typing large numbers of SNPs, researchers are faced with the challenge of utilizing an appropriate statistical method that controls the type I error rate while maintaining adequate power. We show that an empirical genotype based multi-locus global test that uses permutation testing to investigate the null distribution of the maximum test statistic maintains a desired overall type I error rate while not overly sacrificing statistical power. The results also show that when the penetrance model is simple the multi-locus global test does as well or better than the haplotype analysis. However, for more complex models, haplotype analyses offer advantages. The results of this dissertation will be of utility to human geneticists designing large-scale multi-locus genotype-phenotype association studies.

Subject Area


Recommended Citation

Huang, Qiqing, "Single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) selection for genotype-phenotype association studies" (2003). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI3110199.