We discuss methods for detecting genetic linkage for quantitative data. The usual LOD score method uses a pseudolikelihood formulation and has optimal power provided all parameters are correctly specified, but can lead to erroneous estimates of the location for the locus influencing a trait under misspecification of parameters describing the variance of the trait. Alternative methods, in which attention focuses upon modelling covariation among relatives as a function of genetic marker, similarity lead to unbiased estimates of the location and major gene heritability of the trait influencing locus. The Haseman-Elston approach uses a regression method to perform linkage analysis and its properties have been widely studied. This method is generally less powerful than variance components procedures, but the maximum likelihood-based variance components procedures require normality of the trait to ensure robustness of the genetic linkage tests (i.e. a correct false positive rate). When samples are non-randomly selected an ascertainment correction is generally required in order to obtain unbiased parameter estimates when applying variance components methods. For quantitative traits, ascertainment corrections usually condition either on the proband exceeding a threshold, or on the trait value of the proband. We summarize simulations that show that both approaches lead to similar efficiencies for estimating genetic effects. Finally, we discuss methods for analysing diseases that include time-to-onset information. A variety of methods are available for the linkage analysis of quantitative traits. Here, we have reviewed the most commonly used methods.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Statistics and Probability
- Health Information Management