Article

Pitfalls of merging GWAS data: lessons learned in the eMERGE network and quality control procedures to maintain high data quality.

Center for Human Genetics Research, Department of Molecular Physiology and Biophysics, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN, USA.
Genetic Epidemiology (Impact Factor: 2.95). 12/2011; 35(8):887-98. DOI: 10.1002/gepi.20639
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) are a useful approach in the study of the genetic components of complex phenotypes. Aside from large cohorts, GWAS have generally been limited to the study of one or a few diseases or traits. The emergence of biobanks linked to electronic medical records (EMRs) allows the efficient reuse of genetic data to yield meaningful genotype-phenotype associations for multiple phenotypes or traits. Phase I of the electronic MEdical Records and GEnomics (eMERGE-I) Network is a National Human Genome Research Institute-supported consortium composed of five sites to perform various genetic association studies using DNA repositories and EMR systems. Each eMERGE site has developed EMR-based algorithms to comprise a core set of 14 phenotypes for extraction of study samples from each site's DNA repository. Each eMERGE site selected samples for a specific phenotype, and these samples were genotyped at either the Broad Institute or at the Center for Inherited Disease Research using the Illumina Infinium BeadChip technology. In all, approximately 17,000 samples from across the five sites were genotyped. A unified quality control (QC) pipeline was developed by the eMERGE Genomics Working Group and used to ensure thorough cleaning of the data. This process includes examination of sample and marker quality and various batch effects. Upon completion of the genotyping and QC analyses for each site's primary study, eMERGE Coordinating Center merged the datasets from all five sites. This larger merged dataset reentered the established eMERGE QC pipeline. Based on lessons learned during the process, additional analyses and QC checkpoints were added to the pipeline to ensure proper merging. Here, we explore the challenges associated with combining datasets from different genotyping centers and describe the expansion to eMERGE QC pipeline for merged datasets. These additional steps will be useful as the eMERGE project expands to include additional sites in eMERGE-II, and also serve as a starting point for investigators merging multiple genotype datasets accessible through the National Center for Biotechnology Information in the database of Genotypes and Phenotypes. Our experience demonstrates that merging multiple datasets after additional QC can be an efficient use of genotype data despite new challenges that appear in the process.

3 Followers
 · 
167 Views
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) hormone levels are normally tightly regulated within an individual; thus, relatively small variations may indicate thyroid disease. Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have identified variants in PDE8B and FOXE1 that are associated with TSH levels. However, prior studies lacked racial/ethnic diversity, limiting the generalization of these findings to individuals of non-European ethnicities. The Electronic Medical Records and Genomics (eMERGE) Network is a collaboration across institutions with biobanks linked to electronic medical records (EMRs). The eMERGE Network uses EMR-derived phenotypes to perform GWAS in diverse populations for a variety of phenotypes. In this report, we identified serum TSH levels from 4,501 European American and 351 African American euthyroid individuals in the eMERGE Network with existing GWAS data. Tests of association were performed using linear regression and adjusted for age, sex, body mass index (BMI), and principal components, assuming an additive genetic model. Our results replicate the known association of PDE8B with serum TSH levels in European Americans (rs2046045 p = 1.85×10-17, β = 0.09). FOXE1 variants, associated with hypothyroidism, were not genome-wide significant (rs10759944: p = 1.08×10-6, β = -0.05). No SNPs reached genome-wide significance in African Americans. However, multiple known associations with TSH levels in European ancestry were nominally significant in African Americans, including PDE8B (rs2046045 p = 0.03, β = -0.09), VEGFA (rs11755845 p = 0.01, β = -0.13), and NFIA (rs334699 p = 1.50×10-3, β = -0.17). We found little evidence that SNPs previously associated with other thyroid-related disorders were associated with serum TSH levels in this study. These results support the previously reported association between PDE8B and serum TSH levels in European Americans and emphasize the need for additional genetic studies in more diverse populations.
    PLoS ONE 12/2014; 9(12):e111301. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0111301 · 3.53 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The NAv1.5 sodium channel α subunit is the predominant α-subunit expressed in the heart and is associated with cardiac arrhythmias. We tested five previously identified SCN5A variants (rs7374138, rs7637849, rs7637849, rs7629265, and rs11129796) for an association with PR interval and QRS duration in two unique study populations: the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES III, n= 552) accessed by the Epidemiologic Architecture for Genes Linked to Environment (EAGLE) and a combined dataset (n= 455) from two biobanks linked to electronic medical records from Vanderbilt University (BioVU) and Northwestern University (NUgene) as part of the electronic Medical Records & Genomics (eMERGE) network. A meta-analysis including all three study populations (n~4,000) suggests that eight SCN5A associations were significant for both QRS duration and PR interval (p<5.0E-3) with little evidence for heterogeneity across the study populations. These results suggest that published SCN5A associations replicate across different study designs in a meta-analysis and represent an important first step in utility of multiple study designs for genetic studies and the identification/characterization of genetic variants associated with ECG traits in African-descent populations.
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Recent technological advances have expanded the breadth of available omic data, from whole-genome sequencing data, to extensive transcriptomic, methylomic and metabolomic data. A key goal of analyses of these data is the identification of effective models that predict phenotypic traits and outcomes, elucidating important biomarkers and generating important insights into the genetic underpinnings of the heritability of complex traits. There is still a need for powerful and advanced analysis strategies to fully harness the utility of these comprehensive high-throughput data, identifying true associations and reducing the number of false associations. In this Review, we explore the emerging approaches for data integration - including meta-dimensional and multi-staged analyses - which aim to deepen our understanding of the role of genetics and genomics in complex outcomes. With the use and further development of these approaches, an improved understanding of the relationship between genomic variation and human phenotypes may be revealed.
    Nature Reviews Genetics 02/2015; 16(2):85-97. DOI:10.1038/nrg3868 · 39.79 Impact Factor