Threshold trait architecture of Hsp90-buffered variation

Threshold trait architecture of Hsp90-buffered variation

Charles C Carey , Kristen F Gorman , Becky Howsmon , Charles Kooperberg , Aaron K Aragaki , Suzannah Rutherford

Common genetic variants buffered by Hsp90 are candidates for human diseases of signaling such as cancer. Like cancer, morphological abnormalities buffered by Hsp90 are discrete threshold traits with a continuous underlying basis of liability determining their probability of occurrence. QTL and deletion maps for one of the most frequent Hsp90-dependent abnormalities in Drosophila, deformed eye (dfe), were replicated across three genetically related artificial selection lines using strategies dependent on proximity to the dfe threshold and the direction of genetic and environmental effects. Up to 17 dfe loci (QTL) linked by 7 interactions were detected based on the ability of small recombinant regions of an unaffected and completely homozygous control genotype to dominantly suppress or enhance dfe penetrance at its threshold in groups of isogenic recombinant flies, and over 20 deletions increased dfe penetrance from a low expected value in one or more line, identifying a complex network of genes responsible for the dfe phenotype. Replicated comparisons of these whole-genome mapping approaches identified several QTL regions narrowly defined by deletions and 4 candidate genes, with additional uncorrelated QTL and deletions highlighting differences between the approaches and the need for caution in attributing the effect of deletions directly to QTL genes.

The origins of a novel butterfly wing patterning gene from within a family of conserved cell cycle regulators

The origins of a novel butterfly wing patterning gene from within a family of conserved cell cycle regulators

Nicola Nadeau , Carolina Pardo-Diaz , Annabel Whibley , Megan Ann Supple , Richard Wallbank , Grace C. Wu , Luana Maroja , Laura Ferguson , Heather Hines , Camilo Salazar , Richard ffrench-Constant , Mathieu Joron , William Owen McMillan , Chris Jiggins

A major challenge in evolutionary biology is to understand the origins of novel structures. The wing patterns of butterflies and moths are derived phenotypes unique to the Lepidoptera. Here we identify a gene that we name poikilomousa (poik), which regulates colour pattern switches in the mimetic Heliconius butterflies. Strong associations between phenotypic variation and DNA sequence variation are seen in three different Heliconius species, in addition to associations between gene expression and colour pattern. Colour pattern variants are also associated with differences in splicing of poik transcripts. poik is a member of the conserved fizzy family of cell cycle regulators. It belongs to a faster evolving subfamily, the closest functionally characterised orthologue being the cortex gene in Drosophila, a female germ-line specific protein involved in meiosis. poik appears to have adopted a novel function in the Lepidoptera and become a major target for natural selection acting on colour and pattern variation in this group.

SumVg: Total heritability explained by all variants in genome-wide association studies based on summary

SumVg: Total heritability explained by all variants in genome-wide association studies based on summary statistics with standard error estimates
Hon-Cheong SO , Pak C. SHAM

Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have become increasingly popular these days and one of the key questions is how much heritability could be explained by all variants in GWAS. We have previously proposed an approach to answer this question, based on recovering the “true” z-statistics from a set of observed z-statistics. Only summary statistics are required. However, methods for standard error (SE) estimation are not available yet, thereby limiting the interpretation of the results. In this study we developed resampling-based approaches to estimate the SE and the methods are implemented in an R package. We found that delete-d-jackknife and parametric bootstrap approaches provide good estimates of the SE. Methods to compute the sum of heritability explained and the corresponding SE are implemented in the R package SumVg, available at

The advent of genome-wide association studies for bacteria

The advent of genome-wide association studies for bacteria
Peter E Chen , B Jesse Shapiro

Significant advances in sequencing technologies and genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have revealed substantial insight into the genetic architecture of human phenotypes. In recent years, the application of this approach in bacteria has begun to reveal the genetic basis of bacterial host preference, antibiotic resistance, and virulence. Here, we consider relevant differences between bacterial and human genome dynamics, apply GWAS to a global sample of Mycobacterium tuberculosis genomes to highlight the impacts of linkage disequilibrium, population stratification, and natural selection, and finally compare the traditional GWAS against phyC, a contrasting method of mapping genotype to phenotype based upon evolutionary convergence. We discuss strengths and weaknesses of both methods, and make suggestions for factors to be considered in future bacterial GWAS.

Dimensionality and the statistical power of multivariate genome-wide association studies

Dimensionality and the statistical power of multivariate genome-wide association studies

Eladio J. Marquez , David Houle

Mutations virtually always have pleiotropic effects, yet most genome-wide association studies (GWAS) analyze effects one trait at a time. In order to investigate the performance of a multivariate approach to GWAS, we simulated scenarios where variation in a d-dimensional phenotype space was caused by a known subset of SNPs. Multivariate analyses of variance were then carried out on k traits, where k could be less than, greater than or equal to d. Our results show that power is maximized and false discovery rate (FDR) minimized when the number of traits analyzed, k, matches the true dimensionality of the phenotype being analyzed, d. When true dimensionality is high, the power of a single univariate analysis can be an order of magnitude less than the k=d case, even when the single trait with the largest genetic variance is chosen for analysis. When traits are added to a study in order of their independent genetic variation, the gains in power from increasing k up to d are much larger than the loss in power when k exceeds d. Simulations that explicitly model linkage disequilibrium (LD) indicate that when SNPs in disequilibrium are subjected to multivariate analysis, the magnitude of the apparent effect induced onto null SNPs by SNPs carrying a true effect weakens as k approaches d, such that the rank of P-values among a set of correlated SNPs becomes an increasingly reliable predictor of true positives. Multivariate GWAS outperform univariate ones under a wide range of conditions, and should become the standard in studies of the inheritance of complex phenotypes.

Two variance component model improves genetic prediction in family data sets

Two variance component model improves genetic prediction in family data sets

George Tucker , Po-Ru Loh , Iona M MacLeod , Ben J Hayes , Michael E Goddard , Bonnie Berger , Alkes L Price

Genetic prediction based on either identity by state (IBS) sharing or pedigree information has been investigated extensively using Best Linear Unbiased Prediction (BLUP) methods. However, methods to combine IBS sharing and pedigree information for genetic prediction in humans have not been explored. We introduce a two variance component model for genetic prediction: one component for IBS sharing and one for approximate pedigree structure, both estimated using genetic markers. In simulations using real genotypes from CARe and FHS family cohorts, we demonstrate that the two variance component model achieves gains in prediction r2 over standard BLUP at current sample sizes, and we project based on simulations that these gains will continue to hold at larger sample sizes. Accordingly, in analyses of four quantitative phenotypes from CARe and two quantitative phenotypes from FHS, the two variance component model significantly improves prediction r2 in each case, with up to a 16% relative improvement. We also find that standard mixed model association tests can produce inflated test statistics in datasets with related individuals, whereas the two variance component model corrects for inflation.

Contrasting regional architectures of schizophrenia and other complex diseases using fast variance components analysis

Contrasting regional architectures of schizophrenia and other complex diseases using fast variance components analysis
Po-Ru Loh , Gaurav Bhatia , Alexander Gusev , Hilary K Finucane , Brendan K Bulik-Sullivan , Samuela J Pollack , Schizophrenia Working Group Psychiatric Genomics Consortium , Teresa R de Candia , Sang Hong Lee , Naomi R Wray , Kenneth S Kendler , Michael C O’Donovan , Benjamin M Neale , Nick Patterson , Alkes L Price

Heritability analyses of GWAS cohorts have yielded important insights into complex disease architecture, and increasing sample sizes hold the promise of further discoveries. Here, we analyze the genetic architecture of schizophrenia in 49,806 samples from the PGC, and nine complex diseases in 54,734 samples from the GERA cohort. For schizophrenia, we infer an overwhelmingly polygenic disease architecture in which ≥76% of 1Mb genomic regions harbor at least one variant influencing schizophrenia risk. We also observe significant enrichment of heritability in GC-rich regions and in higher-frequency SNPs for both schizophrenia and GERA diseases. In bivariate analyses, we observe significant genetic correlations (ranging from 0.18 to 0.85) for 13 of 36 pairs of GERA diseases; genetic correlations were consistently stronger (1.3x on average) than correlations of overall disease liabilities. To accomplish these analyses, we developed a novel, fast algorithm for multi-component, multi-trait variance components analysis that overcomes prior computational barriers that made such analyses intractable at this scale.