SNP and Haplotype Regional Heritability Mapping (SNHap-RHM): Joint Mapping of Common and Rare Variation Affecting Complex Traits

Richard F. Oppong, Thibaud Boutin, Archie Campbell, Andrew M. McIntosh, David Porteous, Caroline Hayward, Chris S Haley, Pau Navarro, Sara Knott*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We describe a genome-wide analytical approach, SNP and Haplotype Regional Heritability Mapping (SNHap-RHM), that provides regional estimates of the heritability across locally defined regions in the genome. This approach utilises relationship matrices that are based on sharing of SNP and haplotype alleles at local haplotype blocks delimited by recombination boundaries in the genome. We implemented the approach on simulated data and show that the haplotype-based regional GRMs capture variation that is complementary to that captured by SNP-based regional GRMs, and thus justifying the fitting of the two GRMs jointly in a single analysis (SNHap-RHM). SNHap-RHM captures regions in the genome contributing to the phenotypic variation that existing genome-wide analysis methods may fail to capture. We further demonstrate that there are real benefits to be gained from this approach by applying it to real data from about 20,000 individuals from the Generation Scotland: Scottish Family Health Study. We analysed height and major depressive disorder (MDD). We identified seven genomic regions that are genome-wide significant for height, and three regions significant at a suggestive threshold (p-value < 1 × 10−5) for MDD. These significant regions have genes mapped to within 400 kb of them. The genes mapped for height have been reported to be associated with height in humans. Similarly, those mapped for MDD have been reported to be associated with major depressive disorder and other psychiatry phenotypes. The results show that SNHap-RHM presents an exciting new opportunity to analyse complex traits by allowing the joint mapping of novel genomic regions tagged by either SNPs or haplotypes, potentially leading to the recovery of some of the “missing” heritability.
Original languageEnglish
Article number791712
JournalFrontiers in genetics
Publication statusPublished - 6 Jan 2022


  • genome-wide analysis
  • haplotypes
  • height
  • MDD
  • missing heritability
  • rare variation
  • regional heritability mapping


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