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Open Access Methodology article

Assessment of global phase uncertainty in case-control studies

Hae-Won Uh*, Jeanine J Houwing-Duistermaat, Hein Putter and Hans C van Houwelingen

Author Affiliations

Department of Medical Statistics and Bioinformatics, Leiden University Medical Center, Leiden, The Netherlands

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BMC Genetics 2009, 10:54  doi:10.1186/1471-2156-10-54

Published: 14 September 2009

Abstract

Background

In haplotype-based candidate gene studies a problem is that the genotype data are unphased, which results in haplotype ambiguity. The measure [1] quantifies haplotype predictability from genotype data. It is computed for each individual haplotype, and for a measure of global relative efficiency a minimum value is suggested. Alternatively, we developed methods directly based on the information content of haplotype frequency estimates to obtain global relative efficiency measures: and based on A- and D-optimality, respectively. All three methods are designed for single populations; they can be applied in cases only, controls only or the whole data. Therefore they are not necessarily optimal for haplotype testing in case-control studies.

Results

A new global relative efficiency measure was derived to maximize power of a simple test statistic that compares haplotype frequencies in cases and controls. Application to real data showed that our proposed method gave a clear and summarizing measure for the case-control study conducted. Additionally this measure might be used for selection of individuals, who have the highest potential for improving power by resolving phase ambiguity.

Conclusion

Instead of using relative efficiency measure for cases only, controls only or their combined data, we link uncertainty measure to case-control studies directly. Hence, our global efficiency measure might be useful to assess whether data are informative or have enough power for estimation of a specific haplotype risk.