Optimal use of regression models in genome-wide association studies

J E Powell, Andreas Kranis, J Floyd, J C M Dekkers, S Knott, C S Haley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The performance of linear regression models in genome-wide association studies is influenced by how marker information is parameterized in the model. Considering the impact of parameterization is especially important when using information from multiple markers to test for association. Properties of the population, such as linkage disequilibrium (LD) and allele frequencies, will also affect the ability of a model to provide statistical support for an underlying quantitative trait locus (QTL). Thus, for a given location in the genome, the relationship between population properties and model parameterization is expected to influence the performance of the model in providing evidence for the position of a QTL. As LD and allele frequencies vary throughout the genome and between populations, understanding the relationship between these properties and model parameterization is of considerable importance in order to make optimal use of available genomic data. Here, we evaluate the performance of regression-based association models using genotype and haplotype information across the full spectrum of allele frequency and LD scenarios. Genetic marker data from 200 broiler chickens were used to simulate genomic conditions by selecting individual markers to act as surrogate QTL (sQTL) and then investigating the ability of surrounding markers to estimate sQTL genotypes and provide statistical support for their location. The LD and allele frequencies of markers and sQTL are shown to have a strong effect on the performance of models relative to one another. Our results provide an indication of the best choice of model parameterization given certain scenarios of marker and QTL LD and allele frequencies. We demonstrate a clear advantage of haplotype-based models, which account for phase uncertainty over other models tested, particularly for QTL with low minor allele frequencies. We show that the greatest advantage of haplotype models over single-marker models occurs when LD between markers and the causal locus is low. Under these situations, haplotype models have a greater accuracy of predicting the location of the QTL than other models tested.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)133-43
Number of pages11
JournalAnimal Genetics
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2012


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