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Title: Multilocus approaches to the detection of disease susceptibility regions : methods and applications
Author: Ciampa, Julia Grant
ISNI:       0000 0004 2744 1615
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2012
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This thesis focuses on multilocus methods designed to detect single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) that are associated with disease using case-control data. I study multilocus methods that allow for interaction in the regression model because epistasis is thought to be pervasive in the etiology of common human diseases. In contrast, the single-SNP models widely used in genome wide association studies (GWAS) are thought to oversimplify the underlying biology. I consider both pairwise interactions between individual SNPs and modular interactions between sets of biologically similar SNPs. Modular epistasis may be more representative of disease processes and its incorporation into regression analyses yields more parsimonious models. My methodological work focuses on strategies to increase power to detect susceptibility SNPs in the presence of genetic interaction. I emphasize the effect of gene-gene independence constraints and explore methods to relax them. I review several existing methods for interaction analyses and present their first empirical evaluation in a GWAS setting. I introduce the innovative retrospective Tukey score test (RTS) that investigates modular epistasis. Simulation studies suggest it offers a more powerful alternative to existing methods. I present diverse applications of these methods, using data from a multi-stage GWAS on prostate cancer (PRCA). My applied work is designed to generate hypotheses about the functionality of established susceptibility regions for PRCA by identifying SNPs that affect disease risk through interactions with them. Comparison of results across methods illustrates the impact of incorporating different forms of epistasis on inference about disease association. The top findings from these analyses are well supported by molecular studies. The results unite several susceptibility regions through overlapping biological pathways known to be disrupted in PRCA, motivating replication study.
Supervisor: Holmes, Chris; Chatterjee, Nilanjan Sponsor: National Institutes of Health
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Statistics (see also social sciences) ; Mathematical genetics and bioinformatics (statistics) ; statistical genetics ; multilocus analysis ; genetic interaction ; prostate cancer