Multipoint linkage analysis. A cautionary note

Hum Hered. 1999 Jul;49(4):194-6. doi: 10.1159/000022874.


Multipoint linkage analysis is commonly used to evaluate linkage of a disease to multiple markers in a small region. Multipoint analysis is particularly powerful when the IBD relations of family members at the trait locus are ambiguous. The increased power arises because, unlike single-marker analyses, multipoint analysis uses haplotype information from several markers to infer the IBD relations. We wish to temper this advantage with a cautionary note: multipoint analysis is sensitive to power loss due to misspecification of intermarker distances. Such misspecification is especially problematic when dealing with closely spaced markers. We present computer simulations comparing the power of single-point and multipoint analyses, both when IBD relations are ambiguous, and when the intermarker distances are misspecified. We conclude that when evaluating markers in a small region to confirm or refute previous findings, a situation in which p values of modest statistical significance are important, single marker analyses may provide more reliable measures of the strength of support for linkage than multipoint statistics.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Computer Simulation
  • Genetic Linkage*
  • Genetic Markers*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Models, Genetic
  • Models, Statistical
  • Polymorphism, Genetic
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / genetics


  • Genetic Markers