GeneLink: a database to facilitate genetic studies of complex traits
1 Cancer Genetics Branch, National Human Genome Research Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD 20892-8000, USA
2 Genome Technology Branch, National Human Genome Research Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD 20892-8002, USA
3 Inherited Disease Research Branch, National Human Genome Research Institute, National Institutes of Health, Baltimore, MD 21224, USA
4 Translational Genomics Research Institute, Phoenix, AZ 85004, USA
BMC Genomics 2004, 5:81 doi:10.1186/1471-2164-5-81Published: 18 October 2004
In contrast to gene-mapping studies of simple Mendelian disorders, genetic analyses of complex traits are far more challenging, and high quality data management systems are often critical to the success of these projects. To minimize the difficulties inherent in complex trait studies, we have developed GeneLink, a Web-accessible, password-protected Sybase database.
GeneLink is a powerful tool for complex trait mapping, enabling genotypic data to be easily merged with pedigree and extensive phenotypic data. Specifically designed to facilitate large-scale (multi-center) genetic linkage or association studies, GeneLink securely and efficiently handles large amounts of data and provides additional features to facilitate data analysis by existing software packages and quality control. These include the ability to download chromosome-specific data files containing marker data in map order in various formats appropriate for downstream analyses (e.g., GAS and LINKAGE). Furthermore, an unlimited number of phenotypes (either qualitative or quantitative) can be stored and analyzed. Finally, GeneLink generates several quality assurance reports, including genotyping success rates of specified DNA samples or success and heterozygosity rates for specified markers.
GeneLink has already proven an invaluable tool for complex trait mapping studies and is discussed primarily in the context of our large, multi-center study of hereditary prostate cancer (HPC). GeneLink is freely available at http://research.nhgri.nih.gov/genelink webcite.