A F Wilson

National Human Genome Research Institute, Maryland, United States

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Publications (43)174.63 Total impact

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    Translational Psychiatry. 04/2012;
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    ABSTRACT: The identification and exploration of genetic loci that influence smoking behaviors have been conducted primarily in populations of the European ancestry. Here we report results of the first genome-wide association study meta-analysis of smoking behavior in African Americans in the Study of Tobacco in Minority Populations Genetics Consortium (n = 32,389). We identified one non-coding single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP; rs2036527[A]) on chromosome 15q25.1 associated with smoking quantity (cigarettes per day), which exceeded genome-wide significance (β = 0.040, s.e. = 0.007, P = 1.84 × 10(-8)). This variant is present in the 5'-distal enhancer region of the CHRNA5 gene and defines the primary index signal reported in studies of the European ancestry. No other SNP reached genome-wide significance for smoking initiation (SI, ever vs never smoking), age of SI, or smoking cessation (SC, former vs current smoking). Informative associations that approached genome-wide significance included three modestly correlated variants, at 15q25.1 within PSMA4, CHRNA5 and CHRNA3 for smoking quantity, which are associated with a second signal previously reported in studies in European ancestry populations, and a signal represented by three SNPs in the SPOCK2 gene on chr10q22.1. The association at 15q25.1 confirms this region as an important susceptibility locus for smoking quantity in men and women of African ancestry. Larger studies will be needed to validate the suggestive loci that did not reach genome-wide significance and further elucidate the contribution of genetic variation to disparities in cigarette consumption, SC and smoking-attributable disease between African Americans and European Americans.
    Translational psychiatry. 02/2012; 2:e119.
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    ABSTRACT: OBJECTIVES: We sought to replicate the association between the kinesin-like protein 6 (KIF6) Trp719Arg polymorphism (rs20455), and clinical coronary artery disease (CAD). BACKGROUND: Recent prospective studies suggest that carriers of the 719Arg allele in KIF6 are at increased risk of clinical CAD compared with noncarriers. METHODS: The KIF6 Trp719Arg polymorphism (rs20455) was genotyped in 19 case-control studies of nonfatal CAD either as part of a genome-wide association study or in a formal attempt to replicate the initial positive reports. RESULTS: A total of 17,000 cases and 39,369 controls of European descent as well as a modest number of South Asians, African Americans, Hispanics, East Asians, and admixed cases and controls were successfully genotyped. None of the 19 studies demonstrated an increased risk of CAD in carriers of the 719Arg allele compared with noncarriers. Regression analyses and fixed-effects meta-analyses ruled out with high degree of confidence an increase of >/=2% in the risk of CAD among European 719Arg carriers. We also observed no increase in the risk of CAD among 719Arg carriers in the subset of Europeans with early-onset disease (younger than 50 years of age for men and younger than 60 years of age for women) compared with similarly aged controls as well as all non-European subgroups. CONCLUSIONS: The KIF6 Trp719Arg polymorphism was not associated with the risk of clinical CAD in this large replication study
    J.Am.Coll.Cardiol. 01/2010; 56(19).
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    ABSTRACT: The Regression of Offspring on Mid-Parent (ROMP) method is a test of association between a quantitative trait and a candidate locus. ROMP estimates the trait heritability and the heritability attributable to a locus and requires genotyping the offspring only. In this study, the theory underlying ROMP was revised (ROMP(rev)) and extended. Computer simulations were used to determine the type I error and power of the test of association, and the accuracy of the locus-specific heritability estimate. The ROMP(rev) test had good power at the 5% significance level with properly controlled type I error. Locus-specific heritability estimates were, on average, close to simulated values. For non-zero locus-specific heritability, the proposed standard error was downwardly biased, yielding reduced coverage of 95% confidence intervals. A bootstrap approach with proper coverage is suggested as a second step for loci of interest. ROMP(rev) was applied to a study of cardiovascular-related traits to illustrate its use. An association between polymorphisms within the fibrinogen gene cluster and plasma fibrinogen was detected (p < 0.005) that accounted for 29% of the estimated fibrinogen heritability. The ROMP(rev) method provides a computationally fast and simple way of testing for association and obtaining accurate estimates of locus-specific heritability while minimizing the genotyping required.
    Annals of Human Genetics 02/2008; 72(Pt 1):115-25. · 1.93 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Variations in platelet function among individuals may be related to differences in platelet-related genes. The major goal of our study was to estimate the contribution of inheritance to the variability in platelet function in unaffected individuals from white and African American families with premature coronary artery disease. Platelet reactivity, in the absence of antiplatelet agents, was assessed by in vitro aggregation and the platelet function analyzer closure time. Heritability was estimated using a variance components model. Both white (n = 687) and African American (n = 321) subjects exhibited moderate to strong heritability (h(2)) for epinephrine- and adenosine diphosphate-induced aggregation (0.36-0.42 for white and >0.71 for African American subjects), but heritability for collagen-induced platelet aggregation in platelet-rich plasma was prominent only in African American subjects. Platelet lag phase after collagen stimulation was heritable in both groups (0.47-0.50). A limited genotype analysis demonstrated that the C825T polymorphism of GNB3 was associated with the platelet aggregation response to 2 muM epinephrine, but the effect differed by race. Considering the few and modest genetic effects reported to affect platelet function, our findings suggest the likely existence of undiscovered important genes that modify platelet reactivity, some of which affect multiple aspects of platelet biology.
    Journal of Thrombosis and Haemostasis 08/2007; 5(8):1617-23. · 5.55 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Obesity is thought to have a genetic component with the estimates of heritability ranging from 0.25-0.40. As part of an ongoing study of obesity in the Old Order Amish, seven two- and three-generation families (157 individuals) were assessed for 21 traits related to obesity, including body mass index (BMI) and BMI-percentile (a standardized distribution of BMI adjusted for age and sex). Genotyping was performed using a panel of 384 short-tandem repeat markers. In this sample, the estimates of heritability ranged from 0.16-0.31 for BMI and from 0.40-0.52 for BMI-percentile. Model-independent linkage analysis identified candidate regions on chromosomes 1, 5, 7, 8, and 11. Given that several markers on 7q were significant for both BMI and BMI-percentile (P < or = 0.001) and that the structural locus for leptin was located on 7q, this region was considered to be the primary candidate region. Subsequent typing of additional flanking markers on 7q corroborated the original findings. Tests of intrafamilial association for alleles at markers in this candidate region were significant at similar levels. Although there is some evidence for linkage and association in the region containing leptin, there appears to be stronger evidence for linkage (P < or = 0.001) and association (P < or = 0.00001) with BMI in a region 10-15 cM further downstream of leptin, flanked by markers D7S1804 and D7S3070 with peak values from D7S495-D7S1798. Evidence from linkage and association studies suggests that this region (D7S1804-D7S3070) may be responsible, at least in part, for variation in BMI and BMI-percentile in the Old Order Amish.
    American Journal of Medical Genetics Part C Seminars in Medical Genetics 08/2003; 121C(1):71-80. · 3.54 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: It is well known that the Haseman-Elston (H-E) sib-pair linkage method does not assume that the genetic model underlying the trait phenotype is known without error, although this assumption is made for marker loci. However, misspecification of allele frequencies at the marker locus decreases power when some or all parental genotypes are unknown. In this study, the power of the H-E sib-pair method was compared for different types of traits when some or all parental data were missing and allele frequencies at the marker loci were misspecified. Data were generated for a quantitative trait and marker loci in nuclear families using G.A.S.P. (V3.3). Three types of traits were simulated with two equifrequent alleles with a random environmental effect (10%, 30%, and 50%). The simulated data were analyzed using (i) one of the parent's marker data, and (ii) no parental marker data, with both correct and incorrect marker allele frequencies. This test is found to be robust in most of the situations considered except for a slight decrease in power when sample size is small and when the marker locus is not very polymorphic.
    American Journal of Medical Genetics 12/2001; 103(4):308-13. · 3.23 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: An extension of the traditional regression of offspring on midparent (ROMP) method was used to estimate the heritability of the trait, test for marker association, and estimate the heritability attributable to a marker locus. The fifty replicates of the Genetic Analysis Workshop (GAW) 12 simulated general population data were used to compare the ROMP method with the variance components method as implemented in SOLAR as a test for marker association, and to a standard analysis of variance (ANOVA) method. Large sample statistical properties of the ROMP and ANOVA methods were compared using 2,000 replicates resampled from the families of the original 50 replicates. Overall, the power to detect a completely associated single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) marker was high, and the type I error rates were similar to nominal significance levels for all three methods. The standard deviations of the estimates of the heritability of the trait were large for both SOLAR and ROMP, but the estimates were, on average, close to those of the generating model for both methods. However, on average, SOLAR overestimated the heritability attributable to the associated SNP marker (by 256%) while ROMP underestimated it (by 26%).
    Genetic Epidemiology 02/2001; 21 Suppl 1:S794-9. · 2.95 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: When sampling full-sibs for linkage studies, half-sibs are often available. Not only are half-sibs convenient to sample, but they can sometimes offer greater power than full-sibs. We propose a method to combine the information from full-sibs and half-sibs into a single test for linkage. This method is based on the Haseman and Elston [1972] method of regressing the squared trait-difference for a pair of sibs (either full- or half-sibs) on the estimated proportion of alleles shared identical by descent. To approximate the distribution of the test statistic, we propose a correction factor that considers the correlation among sibs, and demonstrate by simulations that this approximation works well in many situations, although there are some conditions for which the statistic can have an inflated Type-I error rate. The main appeal of our proposed method is the speed at which it can be computed, offering a rapid way to perform genome-wide linkage screens.
    Genetic Epidemiology 08/2000; 19(1):30-51. · 2.95 Impact Factor
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    Alexander F. Wilson, Alexa J.M. Sorant
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    ABSTRACT: The reintroduction of biallelic markers, now in the form of single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), has again raised concerns about the practicality of the use of markers with low heterozygosity for genomic screening for complex traits, even if thousands of such markers are available. Like the early blood-group markers (e.g., Rh and MNS), tightly linked biallelic SNPs can be combined into composite markers with heterozygosity similar to that of short-tandem-repeat polymorphisms. The assumptions that underlie the equivalence between single-locus multiallelic and composite markers are presented. We used computer simulation to determine the power of the Haseman-Elston test for linkage with composite markers when not all of these assumptions hold. The Genometric Analysis Simulation Program was used to simulate continuous and discrete traits, one single-locus four-allele marker, and six biallelic markers. We studied composite markers created from pairs, trios, and quartets of biallelic markers in nuclear families and in independent sib pairs. The power to detect linkage with a two-point approach for composite markers and with a multipoint approach that incorporated all six biallelic markers was compared with that for a single-locus, four-allele reference marker. Although the power to detect linkage with a single biallelic marker was considerably less than that of the reference marker, the power to detect linkage with two- and three-locus composite markers was quite similar to that of the reference marker. The power to detect linkage with four-locus composite markers was similar to that of a multipoint approach.
    The American Journal of Human Genetics 06/2000; 66(5):1610-5. · 10.99 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Linkage analyses of simulated quantitative trait data were performed using the Haseman-Elston (H-E) sib pair regression test to investigate the effects of inaccurate allele frequency estimates on the type I error rates of this test. Computer simulations generating a quantitative trait in nuclear families were performed using GASP [1]. Assuming no linkage, several data sets were simulated; they differed in marker allele numbers and frequencies, number of sib pairs and number of sibships. Each set of simulated data was analyzed using (1) all parental marker data, (2) half of the parental marker data, and (3) no parental marker data, using both correct and incorrect allele frequencies in the latter 2 cases. The H-E sib pair linkage method was found to be robust to misspecification of marker allele frequencies regardless of the number of alleles.
    Human Heredity 01/2000; 50(2):126-32. · 1.64 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Multipoint linkage analysis was used to screen for evidence of linkage between alcoholism and five alcoholism-related quantitative traits. The results suggest that a susceptibility locus that influences monoamine oxidase activity and P300 amplitude at the Pz lead, and increases the risk of alcohol dependence may be linked to markers in the 12q24 region. Furthermore, the susceptibility for alcoholism may be associated with allele 3 (allele size 144) of D12S392.
    Genetic Epidemiology 02/1999; 17 Suppl 1:S193-8. · 2.95 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The effect of inclusion of environmental risk factors on the power of sib-pair linkage methods was tested for a qualitative trait. It was found that inclusion of an environmental variable did not increase the power of the Haseman-Elston (H-E) sib-pair nonparametric linkage analysis test. However, a significant increase in power was observed for both the H-E and affected-sib-pair tests, even in small samples, when persons unexposed to the environmental risk factor were coded as unknown.
    Genetic Epidemiology 02/1999; 17 Suppl 1:S643-8. · 2.95 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: A likelihood ratio statistic can be used to test whether a random sample is taken from a single normal distribution or from a mixture of two normal distributions with a common variance. The asymptotic distribution of the likelihood ratio test statistic G (minus twice the difference in the logc likelihoods) in this situation is often assumed to be χ with two degrees of freedom. In this study simulation is used to investigate the distribution of G for sample sizes up to 256,000. We determine several approximations to the empirical distribution for sample sizes between 50 and 500, including one that does not require the computation of a χ distribution with fractional degrees of freedom. We conclude that although the asymptotic distribution of G is not a χ with two degrees of freedom, this does appear to be a good approximation to the upper 15% of the distribution
    Communication in Statistics- Simulation and Computation 01/1996; 25(3):733-740. · 0.29 Impact Factor
  • Elizabeth W. Pugh, Diptasri M. Mandal, Alexander F. Wilson
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    ABSTRACT: Initially, a sib-pair linkage analysis was performed between the marker loci and six untransformed variables. Results from several variations of this initial analysis were compared using a graphical approach (P-plots) to simplify presentation. When results were compared to the generating model, most of the aspects of the generating model were recovered, although we did not find evidence of the polygenic component shared by Q2 and Q3, or evidence of linkage between MG4 and Q4 at the 0.01 level.
    Genetic Epidemiology 02/1995; 12(6):807-12. · 2.95 Impact Factor
  • T G Nick, V George, R C Elston, A F Wilson
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    ABSTRACT: In genetic analysis it is often of interest to analyze associations between traits of unknown genetic etiology and genetic markers from pedigree data. Statistical methods that assume independence of pedigree members cannot be used because they disregard the statistical dependencies of members in a pedigree. For quantitative traits, a regression model proposed by George and Elston [Genet Epidemiol 4:193-201, 1987] uses an asymptotic likelihood ratio test and incorporates a correlation structure that allows for statistical dependence among the pedigree members. The statistical validity of this test is assessed for finite samples by measuring the discrepancy between the empirical and theoretical chi-square distributions. The variance of the mean of the dependent variable is determined to be related to this discrepancy and can be used to determine whether a pedigree structure is large enough for making valid statistical inferences on the basis of the asymptotic test. A multi-generational pedigree of 200 or so individuals should in many cases be sufficient for valid results when using the asymptotic likelihood ratio test for the association between markers and continuous traits.
    Genetic Epidemiology 02/1995; 12(2):145-61. · 2.95 Impact Factor
  • A F Wilson, R C Elston
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    ABSTRACT: Simulation experiments were used to determine the empiric type I error rate of the Haseman-Elston sib-pair test for linkage between a quantitative trait and a marker locus in samples with 60 or fewer sib pairs. The effect of different levels of marker-locus heterozygosity on statistical validity was also considered. The test was performed on the trait and each of five unlinked markers, and evaluated using two different degrees of freedom for the t-distribution. The number of degrees of freedom in the first evaluation was based on the number of sib pairs in each sibship, sigma s(i)(s(i) - 1)/2 - 2. In the second evaluation, the number of degrees freedom was based on the number of sibs minus 1 in each sibship, sigma (s(i) - 1) - 2. Empirically determined type I error rates using sigma s(i)(s(i) - 1)/2 - 2 degrees of freedom were slightly liberal. For sigma (s(i) - 1) - 2 degrees of freedom, the estimated empiric p-values were nearly identical to their respective nominal p-values. Decreasing levels of heterozygosity did not increase the empiric type I error rate when the sample size was small.
    Genetic Epidemiology 02/1993; 10(6):593-8. · 2.95 Impact Factor
  • A F Wilson
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    ABSTRACT: The analyses of data provided for the cardiovascular disease section of Genetic Analysis Workshop 8 are briefly summarized. Methods using twin, segregation, and linkage analyses are used to determine, characterize, and localize genetic components involved in the etiology of cardiovascular disease and to explore the interaction of these components with known environmental risk factors.
    Genetic Epidemiology 02/1993; 10(6):503-12. · 2.95 Impact Factor
  • J E Bailey-Wilson, A F Wilson, V Bamba
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    ABSTRACT: Sib-pair linkage analysis was used to screen a large pedigree, ascertained through four members with hypercholesterolemia, for evidence of linkage between 12 quantitative traits and 15 genetic marker loci. Traits were analyzed on the untransformed, natural log and square root-transformed scales. After adjusting for multiple tests, there is a suggestion of linkage between height and the Kidd blood group on chromosome 18 and between VLDL cholesterol, and possibly triglyceride, and KM on chromosome 2.
    Genetic Epidemiology 02/1993; 10(6):665-9. · 2.95 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Fitting a mixture of both two normal distributions and a single normal distribution to empiric data is necessary to construct the likelihood ratio statistic for testing the hypothesis of a mixture of two normals versus a single normal distribution. This problem is particularly troublesome because the iterative maximization methods necessary to compute the maximum likelihood often converge to a local rather than the global maximum. Simulation was used to explore two issues; 1) which maximization method (direct search or variable metric) is better at quickly finding the global maximum, and 2) how many sets of initial estimates are necessary to consistently find the global maximum. It was found that direct search is slow but accurate, whereas variable metric is fast but inaccurate. It was also found that at least three sets of initial estimates are needed to find the global maximum for more than 99percent of all samples. A hybrid method consisting of a few initial iterations of direct search followed by variable metric to convergence is almost as accurate as direct search and almost as fast as variable metric.
    Communication in Statistics- Simulation and Computation 01/1992; 21(3):769-781. · 0.29 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

865 Citations
174.63 Total Impact Points


  • 1999–2012
    • National Human Genome Research Institute
      Maryland, United States
  • 2003
    • University of Wuerzburg
      Würzburg, Bavaria, Germany
  • 2001
    • Johns Hopkins University
      Baltimore, Maryland, United States
  • 1984–2001
    • Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center New Orleans
      • • Department of Genetics
      • • Department of Medicine
      Baton Rouge, LA, United States
  • 2000
    • Mayo Clinic - Rochester
      Rochester, Minnesota, United States
  • 1995
    • University of Mississippi Medical Center
      Jackson, Mississippi, United States
  • 1986–1992
    • LSU Medical Center
      New Orleans, Louisiana, United States
  • 1989
    • Stony Brook University
      • Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Science
      Stony Brook, NY, United States