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A permutation method for detecting trend correlations in rare variant association studies

  • Lifeng Liu (a1), Pengfei Wang (a2), Jingbo Meng (a2), Lili Chen (a1), Wensheng Zhu (a2) and Weijun Ma (a1)...

Abstract

In recent years, there has been an increasing interest in detecting disease-related rare variants in sequencing studies. Numerous studies have shown that common variants can only explain a small proportion of the phenotypic variance for complex diseases. More and more evidence suggests that some of this missing heritability can be explained by rare variants. Considering the importance of rare variants, researchers have proposed a considerable number of methods for identifying the rare variants associated with complex diseases. Extensive research has been carried out on testing the association between rare variants and dichotomous, continuous or ordinal traits. So far, however, there has been little discussion about the case in which both genotypes and phenotypes are ordinal variables. This paper introduces a method based on the γ-statistic, called OV-RV, for examining disease-related rare variants when both genotypes and phenotypes are ordinal. At present, little is known about the asymptotic distribution of the γ-statistic when conducting association analyses for rare variants. One advantage of OV-RV is that it provides a robust estimation of the distribution of the γ-statistic by employing the permutation approach proposed by Fisher. We also perform extensive simulations to investigate the numerical performance of OV-RV under various model settings. The simulation results reveal that OV-RV is valid and efficient; namely, it controls the type I error approximately at the pre-specified significance level and achieves greater power at the same significance level. We also apply OV-RV for rare variant association studies of diastolic blood pressure.

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Copyright

This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution licence (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Corresponding author

Author for correspondence: Dr Wensheng Zhu, E-mail: wszhu@nenu.edu.cn; Dr Weijun Ma, E-mail: maweijun2001@163.com

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Lifeng Liu and Pengfei Wang are co-first authors

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References

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A permutation method for detecting trend correlations in rare variant association studies

  • Lifeng Liu (a1), Pengfei Wang (a2), Jingbo Meng (a2), Lili Chen (a1), Wensheng Zhu (a2) and Weijun Ma (a1)...

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