Email updates

Keep up to date with the latest news and content from BMC Genetics and BioMed Central.

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

Open Access Proceedings

Genome-wide linkage analysis for alcohol dependence: a comparison between single-nucleotide polymorphism and microsatellite marker assays

Qianli Ma12*, Yi Yu12, Yan Meng12, John Farrell1, Lindsay A Farrer1 and Marsha A Wilcox1

Author Affiliations

1 Genetics Program, Boston University School of Medicine, 715 Albany Street, Boston, MA 02118, USA

2 Bioinformatics Graduate Program, Boston University, 44 Cummington Street, Boston, MA 02215, USA

For all author emails, please log on.

BMC Genetics 2005, 6(Suppl 1):S8  doi:10.1186/1471-2156-6-S1-S8

Published: 30 December 2005


Both theoretical and applied studies have proven that the utility of single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) markers in linkage analysis is more powerful and cost-effective than current microsatellite marker assays. Here we performed a whole-genome scan on 115 White, non-Hispanic families segregating for alcohol dependence, using one 10.3-cM microsatellite marker set and two SNP data sets (0.33-cM, 0.78-cM spacing). Two definitions of alcohol dependence (ALDX1 and ALDX2) were used. Our multipoint nonparametric linkage analysis found alcoholism was nominal linked to 12 genomic regions. The linkage peaks obtained by using the microsatellite marker set and the two SNP sets had a high degree of correspondence in general, but the microsatellite marker set was insufficient to detect some nominal linkage peaks. The presence of linkage disequilibrium between markers did not significantly affect the results. Across the entire genome, SNP datasets had a much higher average linkage information content (0.33 cM: 0.93, 0.78 cM: 0.91) than did microsatellite marker set (0.57). The linkage peaks obtained through two SNP datasets were very similar with some minor differences. We conclude that genome-wide linkage analysis by using approximately 5,000 SNP markers evenly distributed across the human genome is sufficient and might be more powerful than current 10-cM microsatellite marker assays.