Background: There is growing interest in the study of gene-environment interactions in the context of genome-wide association studies (GWASs). These studies will likely require meta-analytic approaches to have sufficient power. Methods: We describe an approach for meta-analysis of a joint test for genetic main effects and gene-environment interaction effects. Using simulation studies based on a meta-analysis of five studies (total n = 10,161), we compare the power of this test to the meta-analysis of marginal test of genetic association and the meta-analysis of standard 1 d.f. interaction tests across a broad range of genetic main effects and gene-environment interaction effects. Results: We show that the joint meta-analysis is valid and can be more powerful than classical meta-analytic approaches, with a potential gain of power over 50% compared to the marginal test. The standard interaction test had less than 1% power in almost all the situations we considered. We also show that regardless of the test used, sample sizes far exceeding those of a typical individual GWAS will be needed to reliably detect genes with subtle gene-environment interaction patterns. Conclusion: The joint meta-analysis is an attractive approach to discover markers which may have been missed by initial GWASs focusing on marginal marker-trait associations.
© 2011 S. Karger AG, Basel
- Gene-environment interaction
- Genome-wide scan
- Case-control association analysis
- Complex disease
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Received: June 16, 2010
Accepted after revision: December 2, 2010
Published online: February 3, 2011
Number of Print Pages : 9
Number of Figures : 3, Number of Tables : 2, Number of References : 21
Human Heredity (International Journal of Human and Medical Genetics)
Vol. 70, No. 4, Year 2010 (Cover Date: February 2011)
Journal Editor: Devoto M. (Philadelphia, Pa./Rome)
ISSN: 0001-5652 (Print), eISSN: 1423-0062 (Online)
For additional information: http://www.karger.com/HHE
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