This article is part of the supplement: Genetic Analysis Workshop 14: Microsatellite and single-nucleotide polymorphism

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Linkage analysis of the GAW14 simulated dataset with microsatellite and single-nucleotide polymorphism markers in large pedigrees

Xiaohong (Rose) Yang1*, Kevin Jacobs2, Kimberly F Kerstann1, Andrew W Bergen1, Alisa M Goldstein1 and Lynn R Goldin1

Author Affiliations

1 Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics, National Cancer Institute, NIH, DHHS, Bethesda, Maryland, USA

2 BioInformed LLC, Cleveland, OH, USA

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BMC Genetics 2005, 6(Suppl 1):S14  doi:10.1186/1471-2156-6-S1-S14

Published: 30 December 2005


Recent studies have suggested that a high-density single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) marker set could provide equivalent or even superior information compared with currently used microsatellite (STR) marker sets for gene mapping by linkage. The focus of this study was to compare results obtained from linkage analyses involving extended pedigrees with STR and single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) marker sets. We also wanted to compare the performance of current linkage programs in the presence of high marker density and extended pedigree structures. One replicate of the Genetic Analysis Workshop 14 (GAW14) simulated extended pedigrees (n = 50) from New York City was analyzed to identify the major gene D2. Four marker sets with varying information content and density on chromosome 3 (STR [7.5 cM]; SNP [3 cM, 1 cM, 0.3 cM]) were analyzed to detect two traits, the original affection status, and a redefined trait more closely correlated with D2. Multipoint parametric and nonparametric linkage analyses (NPL) were performed using programs GENEHUNTER, MERLIN, SIMWALK2, and S.A.G.E. SIBPAL. Our results suggested that the densest SNP map (0.3 cM) had the greatest power to detect linkage for the original trait (genetic heterogeneity), with the highest LOD score/NPL score and mapping precision. However, no significant improvement in linkage signals was observed with the densest SNP map compared with STR or SNP-1 cM maps for the redefined affection status (genetic homogeneity), possibly due to the extremely high information contents for all maps. Finally, our results suggested that each linkage program had limitations in handling the large, complex pedigrees as well as a high-density SNP marker set.