Gene-centric analysis tools for genome-wide association study data are being developed both to annotate single locus statistics and to prioritize or group single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) prior to analysis. These approaches require knowledge about the relationships between SNPs on a genotyping platform and genes in the human genome. SNPs in the genome can represent broader genomic regions via linkage disequilibrium (LD), and population-specific patterns of LD can be exploited to generate a data-driven map of SNPs to genes.In this study, we implemented LD-Spline, a database routine that defines the genomic boundaries a particular SNP represents using linkage disequilibrium statistics from the International HapMap Project. We compared the LD-Spline haplotype block partitioning approach to that of the four gamete rule and the Gabriel et al. approach using simulated data; in addition, we processed two commonly used genome-wide association study platforms.We illustrate that LD-Spline performs comparably to the four-gamete rule and the Gabriel et al. approach; however as a SNP-centric approach LD-Spline has the added benefit of systematically identifying a genomic boundary for each SNP, where the global block partitioning approaches may falter due to sampling variation in LD statistics.LD-Spline is an integrated database routine that quickly and effectively defines the genomic region marked by a SNP using linkage disequilibrium, with a SNP-centric block definition algorithm.
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