A cladistic analysis of apolipoprotein B gene variation and plasma lipid and apolipoprotein B levels, using familial data

David Michael Hallman, The University of Texas Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences at Houston


Any functionally important mutation is embedded in an evolutionary matrix of other mutations. Cladistic analysis, based on this, is a method of investigating gene effects using a haplotype phylogeny to define a set of tests which localize causal mutations to branches of the phylogeny. Previous implementations of cladistic analysis have not addressed the issue of analyzing data from related individuals, though in human studies, family data are usually needed to obtain unambiguous haplotypes. In this study, a method of cladistic analysis is described in which haplotype effects are parameterized in a linear model which accounts for familial correlations. The method was used to study the effect of apolipoprotein (Apo) B gene variation on total-, LDL-, and HDL-cholesterol, triglyceride, and Apo B levels in 121 French families. Five polymorphisms defined Apo B haplotypes: the signal peptide Insertion/deletion, Bsp 1286I, XbaI, MspI, and EcoRI. Eleven haplotypes were found, and a haplotype phylogeny was constructed and used to define a set of tests of haplotype effects on lipid and apo B levels. This new method of cladistic analysis, the parametric method, found significant effects for single haplotypes for all variables. For HDL-cholesterol, 3 clusters of evolutionarily-related haplotypes affecting levels were found. Haplotype effects accounted for about 10% of the genetic variance of triglyceride and HDL-cholesterol levels. The results of the parametric method were compared to those of a method of cladistic analysis based on permutational testing. The permutational method detected fewer haplotype effects, even when modified to account for correlations within families. Simulation studies exploring these differences found evidence of systematic errors in the permutational method due to the process by which haplotype groups were selected for testing. The applicability of cladistic analysis to human data was shown. The parametric method is suggested as an improvement over the permutational method. This study has identified candidate haplotypes for sequence comparisons in order to locate the functional mutations in the Apo B gene which may influence plasma lipid levels.

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Recommended Citation

Hallman, David Michael, "A cladistic analysis of apolipoprotein B gene variation and plasma lipid and apolipoprotein B levels, using familial data" (1994). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI9426536.