Genetic model selection in genome-wide association studies: robust methods and the use of meta-analysis
AuthorBagos, P. G.
In genetic association studies (GAS) as well as in genome-wide association studies (GWAS), the mode of inheritance (dominant, additive and recessive) is usually not known a priori. Assuming an incorrect mode of inheritance may lead to substantial loss of power, whereas on the other hand, testing all possible models may result in an increased type I error rate. The situation is even more complicated in the meta-analysis of GAS or GWAS, in which individual studies are synthesized to derive an overall estimate. Meta-analysis increases the power to detect weak genotype effects, but heterogeneity and incompatibility between the included studies complicate things further. In this review, we present a comprehensive summary of the statistical methods used for robust analysis and genetic model selection in GAS and GWAS. We then discuss the application of such methods in the context of meta-analysis. We describe the theoretical properties of the various methods and the foundations on which they are based. We also present the available software implementations of the described methods. Finally, since only few of the available robust methods have been applied in the meta-analysis setting, we present some simple extensions that allow robust meta-analysis of GAS and GWAS. Possible extensions and proposals for future work are also discussed.