Current genome-wide linkage-mapping single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) panels with densities of 0.3 cM are likely to have increased intermarker linkage disequilibrium (LD) compared to 5-cM microsatellite panels. The resulting difference in haplotype frequencies versus that predicted may affect multipoint linkage analysis with ungenotyped founders; a common haplotype may be assumed to be rare, leading to inflation of identical-by-descent (IBD) allele-sharing estimates and evidence for linkage. Using data simulated for the Genetic Analysis Workshop 14, we assessed bias in allele-sharing measures and nonparametric linkage (NPLall) and Kong and Cox LOD (KC-LOD) scores in a targeted analysis of regions with and without LD and with and without genes. Using over 100 replicates, we found that if founders were not genotyped, multipoint IBD estimates and δ parameters were modestly inflated and NPLall and KC-LOD scores were biased upwards in the region with LD and no gene; rather than centering on the null, the mean NPLall and KC-LOD scores were 0.51 ± 0.91 and 0.19 ± 0.38, respectively. Reduction of LD by dropping markers reduced this upward bias. These trends were not seen in the non-LD region with no gene. In regions with genes (with and without LD), a slight loss in power with dropping markers was suggested. These results indicate that LD should be considered in dense scans; removal of markers in LD may reduce false-positive results although information may also be lost. Methods to address LD in a high-throughput manner are needed for efficient, robust genomic scans with dense SNPs.
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