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Linkage analysis of a completely ascertained sample of familial schizophrenics and bipolars from Palau, Micronesia.

Department of Statistics, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA 15213, USA.
Human Genetics (Impact Factor: 4.52). 09/2005; 117(4):349-56. DOI: 10.1007/s00439-005-1320-1
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ABSTRACT We report on linkage analysis of a completely ascertained population of familial psychosis derived from the oceanic nation of Palau. Palau, an archipelago of islands in the Southern Pacific, currently has a population of approximately 23,000 individuals. The peoples of Palau populated these islands recently in human history, approximately 2,000 years ago. As both historical and genetic evidence suggest, the population is far more homogeneous than most other populations undergoing genetic studies, and should therefore prove quite useful for mapping genetic variants having a meaningful impact on susceptibility to psychotic disorders. Moreover, for our study, essentially all on-island schizophrenics (150) and individuals with other psychotic disorders (25) participated. By analysis of narrow (only schizophrenia) and broad (all psychosis) diagnostic schemes, two-point linkage analyses suggest that two regions of the genome harbor genetic variants affecting liability in most families, 3q28 (LOD = 3.03) and 17q32.2 (LOD = 2.80). Results from individual pedigrees also support 2q37.2, 2p14, and 17p13 as potentially harboring important genetic variants. Most of these regions have been implicated in other genetic studies of psychosis in populations physically quite distant from this Oceanic population, although some (e.g., 3q28) appear to be novel results for schizophrenia linkage analyses.

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    • "Overall, the number of multiply affected sibships has increased from 28 to 38, additional evidence for more pronounced familial aggregation. The average degree of relationship between affected individuals in the total sample is between the fourth and fifth degree [Klei et al., 2005], whereas in the HD families, coefficient of kinship calculations indicate a closer relationship that is approximately equivalent to first cousins [Camp et al., 2001]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Our genetic epidemiological studies of schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders (SCZ) in the isolated population of Palau have been ongoing for 20 years. Results from the first decade showed that Palau has an elevated prevalence of SCZ and that cases cluster in extended multigenerational pedigrees interconnected via complex genetic relationships after centuries of endogamous, but not consanguineous, marriages. The aim of our second decade of research, which extended data collection into a third generation of young, high-risk (HR) Palauans, was to identify significant predictors of intergenerational transmission of illness. Our findings revealed that degree of familial loading and gender effects on reproductive fitness are important modifiers of risk for transmission of SCZ. Among 45 distinct multiplex families, we identified 10 high-density (HD) Palauan families, each with 7-29 SCZ cases, which contain half of Palau's 260 SCZ cases and 80% of the 113 SCZ cases with one or more affected first-degree relatives, indicating that familial loading is a major risk factor for SCZ in Palau. Cases that belong to multiply affected sibships are more common than cases with an affected parent. Furthermore, only 6/38 multiply affected sibships have an affected parent, strong evidence that many unaffected parents are obligate carriers of susceptibility genes. Although reproductive fitness is dramatically reduced in affected males, the 30% minority who do become fathers are twice as likely as affected mothers to transmit SCZ to an offspring. As they evolve, these HD families can help to elucidate the genetic mechanisms that predict intergenerational transmission of SCZ.
    American Journal of Medical Genetics Part B Neuropsychiatric Genetics 04/2011; 156B(3):247-54. DOI:10.1002/ajmg.b.31171 · 3.27 Impact Factor
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    • "There have been many genome wide linkage studies that have utilized families from racial/ ethnic populations other than those of Caucasian ancestry (e.g., Costa Rican (Cooper-Casey et al 2005; Walss-Bass et al 2006); Palau (Camp et al 2001; Klei et al 2005), Chinese (Faraone et al 2006), Japanese (group 2003) and Arabs (Lerer et al 2003)). None of the linkage signals have been replicated consistently across all populations and few have reached genome-wide significance. "
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    ABSTRACT: While many studies have sought a window into the genetics of schizophrenia, few have focused on African-American families. An exception is the Project among African-Americans to Explore Risks for Schizophrenia (PAARTNERS), which seeks to identify novel and known risk variation for schizophrenia by genetic analyses of African-American families. We report a linkage study of diagnostic status in 217 African-American families using the Illumina Linkage Panel. Due to assumed incomplete and time-dependent penetrance, we performed linkage analysis using two different treatments of diagnosis: (1) treating both affected and unaffected individuals as informative for linkage (using the program SIBPAL) and (2) treating only affected individuals as informative (using the program MERLIN). We also explore three definitions of affected status: narrowly defined schizophrenia; one broadened to include schizoaffective disorder; and another including all diagnoses indicating psychosis. Several regions show a decrease in the evidence for linkage as the definition broadens 8q22.1 (rs911, 99.26 cM; SIBPAL p-value [p] goes from 0.006 to 0.02), 16q24.3 (rs1006547, 130.48 cM; p from 0.00095 to 0.0085), and 20q13.2 (rs1022689, 81.73 cM; p from 0.00015 to 0.032). One region shows a substantial increase in evidence for linkage, 11p15.2 (rs722317, 24.27 cM; p from 0.0022 to 0.0000003); MERLIN results support the significance of the SIBPAL results (p=0.00001). Our linkage results overlap two broad, previously-reported linkage regions: 8p23.3-p12 found in studies sampling largely families of European ancestry; and 11p11.2-q22.3 reported by a study of African-American families. These results should prove quite useful for uncovering loci affecting risk for schizophrenia.
    Schizophrenia Research 05/2009; 109(1-3):70-9. DOI:10.1016/j.schres.2009.02.007 · 4.43 Impact Factor
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    • "The methods of Bourgain et al. (2003) are also evaluated in the simulations. The structure of the simulations is motivated by a study of the genetics of schizophrenia in the Oceanic population of Palau (Klei et al. 2005; Devlin et al. 2007), but the results should be relevant for many other complex sample structures and diseases. "
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    ABSTRACT: Samples consisting of a mix of unrelated cases and controls, small pedigrees, and much larger pedigrees present a unique challenge for association studies. Few methods are available for efficient analysis of such a broad spectrum of data structures. In this paper we introduce a new matching statistic that is well suited to complex data structures and compare it with frequency-based methods available in the literature. To investigate and compare the power of these methods we simulate datasets based on complex pedigrees. We examine the influence of various levels of linkage disequilibrium (LD) of the disease allele with a marker allele (or equivalently a haplotype). For low frequency marker alleles/haplotypes, frequency-based statistics are more powerful in detecting association. In contrast, for high frequency marker alleles, the matching statistic has greater power. The highest power for frequency-based statistics occurs when the disease allele frequency closely matches the frequency of the linked marker allele. In contrast maximum power of the matching statistic always occurs for intermediate marker allele frequency regardless of the disease allele frequency. Moreover, the matching and frequency-based statistics exhibit little correlation. We conclude that these two approaches can be viewed as complementary in finding possible association between a disease and a marker for many different situations.
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