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Development of GMDR-GPU for Gene-Gene Interaction Analysis and Its Application to WTCCC GWAS Data for Type 2 Diabetes

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      Although genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have identified a significant number of single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) associated with many complex human traits, the susceptibility loci identified so far can explain only a small fraction of the genetic risk. Among other possible explanations, the lack of a comprehensive examination of gene–gene interaction (G×G) is often considered a source of the missing heritability. Previously, we reported a model-free Generalized Multifactor Dimensionality Reduction (GMDR) approach for detecting G×G in both dichotomous and quantitative phenotypes. However, the computational burden and less efficient implementation of the original programs make them impossible to use for GWAS. In this study, we developed a graphics processing unit (GPU)-based GMDR program (named GWAS-GPU), which is able not only to analyze GWAS data but also to run much faster than the earlier version of the GMDR program. As a demonstration of the program, we used the GMDR-GPU software to analyze a publicly available GWAS dataset on type 2 diabetes (T2D) from the Wellcome Trust Case Control Consortium. Through an exhaustive search of pair-wise interactions and a selected search of three- to five-way interactions conditioned on significant pair-wise results, we identified 24 core SNPs in six genes (FTO: rs9939973, rs9940128, rs9922047, rs1121980, rs9939609, rs9930506; TSPAN8: rs1495377; TCF7L2: rs4074720, rs7901695, rs4506565, rs4132670, rs10787472, rs11196205, rs10885409, rs11196208; L3MBTL3: rs10485400, rs4897366; CELF4: rs2852373, rs608489; RUNX1: rs445984, rs1040328, rs990074, rs2223046, rs2834970) that appear to be important for T2D. Of these core SNPs, 11 in FTO, TSPAN8, and TCF7L2 have been reported to be associated with T2D, obesity, or both, providing an independent replication of previously reported SNPs. Importantly, we identified three new susceptibility genes; i.e., L3MBTL3, CELF4, and RUNX1, for T2D, a finding that warrants further investigation with independent samples.

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      PLINK: a tool set for whole-genome association and population-based linkage analyses.

      Whole-genome association studies (WGAS) bring new computational, as well as analytic, challenges to researchers. Many existing genetic-analysis tools are not designed to handle such large data sets in a convenient manner and do not necessarily exploit the new opportunities that whole-genome data bring. To address these issues, we developed PLINK, an open-source C/C++ WGAS tool set. With PLINK, large data sets comprising hundreds of thousands of markers genotyped for thousands of individuals can be rapidly manipulated and analyzed in their entirety. As well as providing tools to make the basic analytic steps computationally efficient, PLINK also supports some novel approaches to whole-genome data that take advantage of whole-genome coverage. We introduce PLINK and describe the five main domains of function: data management, summary statistics, population stratification, association analysis, and identity-by-descent estimation. In particular, we focus on the estimation and use of identity-by-state and identity-by-descent information in the context of population-based whole-genome studies. This information can be used to detect and correct for population stratification and to identify extended chromosomal segments that are shared identical by descent between very distantly related individuals. Analysis of the patterns of segmental sharing has the potential to map disease loci that contain multiple rare variants in a population-based linkage analysis.
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        Genome-wide association study of 14,000 cases of seven common diseases and 3,000 shared controls.

        There is increasing evidence that genome-wide association (GWA) studies represent a powerful approach to the identification of genes involved in common human diseases. We describe a joint GWA study (using the Affymetrix GeneChip 500K Mapping Array Set) undertaken in the British population, which has examined approximately 2,000 individuals for each of 7 major diseases and a shared set of approximately 3,000 controls. Case-control comparisons identified 24 independent association signals at P < 5 x 10(-7): 1 in bipolar disorder, 1 in coronary artery disease, 9 in Crohn's disease, 3 in rheumatoid arthritis, 7 in type 1 diabetes and 3 in type 2 diabetes. On the basis of prior findings and replication studies thus-far completed, almost all of these signals reflect genuine susceptibility effects. We observed association at many previously identified loci, and found compelling evidence that some loci confer risk for more than one of the diseases studied. Across all diseases, we identified a large number of further signals (including 58 loci with single-point P values between 10(-5) and 5 x 10(-7)) likely to yield additional susceptibility loci. The importance of appropriately large samples was confirmed by the modest effect sizes observed at most loci identified. This study thus represents a thorough validation of the GWA approach. It has also demonstrated that careful use of a shared control group represents a safe and effective approach to GWA analyses of multiple disease phenotypes; has generated a genome-wide genotype database for future studies of common diseases in the British population; and shown that, provided individuals with non-European ancestry are excluded, the extent of population stratification in the British population is generally modest. Our findings offer new avenues for exploring the pathophysiology of these important disorders. We anticipate that our data, results and software, which will be widely available to other investigators, will provide a powerful resource for human genetics research.
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          Finding the missing heritability of complex diseases.

          Genome-wide association studies have identified hundreds of genetic variants associated with complex human diseases and traits, and have provided valuable insights into their genetic architecture. Most variants identified so far confer relatively small increments in risk, and explain only a small proportion of familial clustering, leading many to question how the remaining, 'missing' heritability can be explained. Here we examine potential sources of missing heritability and propose research strategies, including and extending beyond current genome-wide association approaches, to illuminate the genetics of complex diseases and enhance its potential to enable effective disease prevention or treatment.

            Author and article information

            [1 ]Institute of Bioinformatics, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou, China
            [2 ]State Key Laboratory for Diagnosis and Treatment of Infection Diseases, First Affiliated Hospital, Zhejiang University School of Medicine, Hangzhou, China
            [3 ]Department of Psychiatry and Neurobehavioral Sciences, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia, United States of America
            Yale University, United States of America
            Author notes

            Competing Interests: The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.

            Conceived and designed the experiments: MDL JZ. Analyzed the data: Zhixiang Zhu XT Zhihong Zhu ML WC KS. Wrote the paper: Zhixiang Zhu WC MDL JZ.

            Role: Editor
            PLoS One
            PLoS ONE
            PLoS ONE
            Public Library of Science (San Francisco, USA )
            23 April 2013
            : 8
            : 4

            This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

            Pages: 9
            This work was supported in part by National Basic Research Program of China (2009CB118404), Key Technologies R&D Program in China (2009ZX08009-004B), National Natural Science Foundation of China grant 81273223, Microsoft Research Asia, Microsoft Server and Tools Business Department, and NIH grant DA-012844. Funding for the Wellcome Trust Case Control Consortium project was provided by the Wellcome Trust under award 076113. The funders had no rule in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.
            Research Article
            Computational Biology
            Genome Analysis Tools
            Genome-Wide Association Studies
            Genetics of Disease
            Genome-Wide Association Studies
            Genome Analysis Tools
            Genome-Wide Association Studies
            Diabetic Endocrinology
            Diabetes Mellitus Type 2



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