Quantitative similarity-based association tests using population samples

Am J Hum Genet. 2001 Sep;69(3):601-14. doi: 10.1086/323037. Epub 2001 Jul 30.


Although genetic association studies using unrelated individuals may be subject to bias caused by population stratification, alternative methods that are robust to population stratification, such as family-based association designs, may be less powerful. Furthermore, it is often more feasible and less expensive to collect unrelated individuals. Recently, several statistical methods have been proposed for case-control association tests in a structured population; these methods may be robust to population stratification. In the present study, we propose a quantitative similarity-based association test (QSAT) to identify association between a candidate marker and a quantitative trait of interest, through use of unrelated individuals. For the QSAT, we first determine whether two individuals are from the same subpopulation or from different subpopulations, using genotype data at a set of independent markers. We then perform an association test between the candidate marker and the quantitative trait, through incorporation of such information. Simulation results based on either coalescent models or empirical population genetics data show that the QSAT has a correct type I error rate in the presence of population stratification and that the power of the QSAT is higher than that of family-based association designs.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Computer Simulation*
  • Humans
  • Models, Theoretical*
  • Population Density