Continuous Covariates in Genetic Association Studies of Case-Parent Triads: Gene and Gene-Environment Interaction Effects, Population Stratification, and Power Analysis Academic Article uri icon

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abstract

  • We propose a multinomial logistic regression method which permits estimation and likelihood ratio tests for allele effects, their interactions with continuous covariates, and assessment of the degree of population stratification in genetic association studies of case-parent triads. Our approach overcomes the constraint imposed by the categorical nature of explanatory variables in the log-linear model. We also demonstrate that the multinomial logistic method can yield efficient inference in the presence of missing parental genotype data via the use of the Expectation-Maximization (EM) algorithm. We performed simulations to compare the multinomial logistic model with the case-pseudosibling conditional logistic model approach, both of which permit the incorporation of continuous covariates. Simulation results indicate that the multinomial logistic model and the conditional logistic model lead to similar estimates in large samples. A simulation-based method of sample size estimation is also used to show that the two models are approximately equivalent in sample size requirements. When parental genotype data are missing, either completely at random or dependent on covariates, the use of the EM algorithm gives multinomial logistic model greater power. Since the multinomial logistic model offers the possibility of assessing the degree of population stratification in the sample and can also provide efficient inference in the presence of missing parental genotypes, the proposed model has an important application in epidemiological family-based association studies.

publication date

  • January 15, 2005