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Properties of local interactions and their potential value in complementing genome-wide association studies

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    Rights statement: Copyright: © 2013 Wei et al. 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.

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http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0071203
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e71203
JournalPLoS ONE
Volume8
Issue number8
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 5 Aug 2013

Abstract

Local interactions between neighbouring SNPs are hypothesized to be able to capture variants missing from genome-wide association studies (GWAS) via haplotype effects but have not been thoroughly explored. We have used a new high-throughput analysis tool to probe this underexplored area through full pair-wise genome scans and conventional GWAS in diastolic and systolic blood pressure and six metabolic traits in the Northern Finland Birth Cohort 1966 (NFBC1966) and the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities study cohort (ARIC). Genome-wide significant interactions were detected in ARIC for systolic blood pressure between PLEKHA7 (a known GWAS locus for blood pressure) and GPR180 (which plays a role in vascular remodelling), and also for triglycerides as local interactions within the 11q23.3 region (replicated significantly in NFBC1966), which notably harbours several loci (BUD13, ZNF259 and APOA5) contributing to triglyceride levels. Tests of the local interactions within the 11q23.3 region conditional on the top GWAS signal suggested the presence of two independent functional variants, each with supportive evidence for their roles in gene regulation. Local interactions captured 9 additional GWAS loci identified in this study (3 significantly replicated) and 73 from previous GWAS (24 in the eight traits and 49 in related traits). We conclude that the detection of local interactions requires adequate SNP coverage of the genome and that such interactions are only likely to be detectable between SNPs in low linkage disequilibrium. Analysing local interactions is a potentially valuable complement to GWAS and can provide new insights into the biology underlying variation in complex traits.

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