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

Open Access Proceedings

Genome scan linkage analysis comparing microsatellites and single-nucleotide polymorphisms markers for two measures of alcoholism in chromosomes 1, 4, and 7

Guanjie Chen*, Adebowale Adeyemo, Jie Zhou, Ao Yuan, Yuanxiu Chen and Charles Rotimi

Author Affiliations

National Human Genome Center, College of Medicine, Howard University, Washington, DC, USA

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BMC Genetics 2005, 6(Suppl 1):S4  doi:10.1186/1471-2156-6-S1-S4

Published: 30 December 2005



We analyzed 143 pedigrees (364 nuclear families) in the Collaborative Study on the Genetics of Alcoholism (COGA) data provided to the participants in the Genetic Analysis Workshop 14 (GAW14) with the goal of comparing results obtained from genome linkage analysis using microsatellite and with results obtained using SNP markers for two measures of alcoholism (maximum number of drinks -MAXDRINK and an electrophysiological measure from EEG -TTTH1). First, we constructed haplotype blocks by using the entire set of single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNP) in chromosomes 1, 4, and 7. These chromosomes have shown linkage signals for MAXDRINK or EEG-TTTH1 in previous reports. Second, we randomly selected one, two, three, four, and five SNPs from each block (referred to as Rep1 – Rep5, respectively) to conduct linkage analysis using variance component approach. Finally, results of all SNP analyses were compared with those obtained using microsatellite markers.


The LOD scores obtained from SNPs were slightly higher but the curves were not radically different from those obtained from microsatellite analyses. The peaks of linkage regions from SNP sets were slightly shifted to the left when compared to those from microsatellite markers. The reduced sets of SNPs provide signals in the same linkage regions but with a smaller LOD score suggesting a significant impact of the decrease in information content on linkage results. The widths of 1 LOD support interval of linkage regions from SNP sets were smaller when compared to those of microsatellite markers. However, two linkage regions obtained from the microsatellite linkage analysis on chromosome 7 for LOG of TTTH1 were not detected in the SNP based analyses.


The linkage results from SNPs showed narrower linkage regions and slightly higher LOD scores when compared to those of microsatellite markers. The different builds of the genetic maps used in microsatellite and SNPs markers or/and errors in genotyping may account for the microsatellite linkage signals on chromosome 7 that were not identified using SNPs. Also, unresolved map issues between SNPs and microsatellite markers may be partly responsible for the shifted linkage peaks when comparing the two types of markers.