Extent of linkage disequilibrium in a Sardinian sub-isolate: sampling and methodological considerations

A Tenesa, A F Wright, S A Knott, A D Carothers, C Hayward, A Angius, I Persico, G Maestrale, N D Hastie, M Pirastu, P M Visscher

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The extent of linkage disequilibrium (LD) is an important factor when designing experiments for mapping disease or trait loci using LD mapping methods. It depends on the population history and hence is a characteristic of each population. Here, we have assessed the extent of LD in a sub-isolate of the general Sardinian population (775 members of one village) using 22 polymorphic markers on chromosome 19. We found high levels of disequilibrium that extended to 8 cM, when based on D', and 11 cM when based on the significance level of the allelic association. The fact that conclusions based on both methods are similar suggests that the estimates are quite robust. We have also shown, through a simple resampling technique, that small sample sizes can overestimate both the mean value of D' and its variance up to a factor of about 2 and 16, respectively, when the number of diplotypes (the pair of haplotypes that compose the genotype) decreased from 186 to 26. We evaluated the effect on D' of the depth of the pedigree available when using phased founders, and compared the estimates with those obtained when using unphased founders, and also the effect of grouping alleles on the value of D' and the significance level. Owing to the high sampling variance of LD, we recommend the use of at least 200 unrelated individuals when characterizing the extent of LD.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)25-33
Number of pages9
JournalHuman Molecular Genetics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2004


  • Alleles
  • Chromosome Mapping
  • Chromosomes, Human, Pair 19
  • Family Characteristics
  • Genetic Markers
  • Genetics, Population
  • Haplotypes
  • Humans
  • Italy
  • Linkage Disequilibrium
  • Pedigree
  • Polymorphism, Genetic
  • Research Design
  • Sample Size


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