Author(s): Furlotte NA, Eskin E
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Abstract Multiple-trait association mapping, in which multiple traits are used simultaneously in the identification of genetic variants affecting those traits, has recently attracted interest. One class of approaches for this problem builds on classical variance component methodology, utilizing a multitrait version of a linear mixed model. These approaches both increase power and provide insights into the genetic architecture of multiple traits. In particular, it is possible to estimate the genetic correlation, which is a measure of the portion of the total correlation between traits that is due to additive genetic effects. Unfortunately, the practical utility of these methods is limited since they are computationally intractable for large sample sizes. In this article, we introduce a reformulation of the multiple-trait association mapping approach by defining the matrix-variate linear mixed model. Our approach reduces the computational time necessary to perform maximum-likelihood inference in a multiple-trait model by utilizing a data transformation. By utilizing a well-studied human cohort, we show that our approach provides more than a 10-fold speedup, making multiple-trait association feasible in a large population cohort on the genome-wide scale. We take advantage of the efficiency of our approach to analyze gene expression data. By decomposing gene coexpression into a genetic and environmental component, we show that our method provides fundamental insights into the nature of coexpressed genes. An implementation of this method is available at http://genetics.cs.ucla.edu/mvLMM. Copyright © 2015 by the Genetics Society of America.
This article was published in Genetics
and referenced in Human Genetics & Embryology