Computational issues in mapping variation affecting susceptibility to complex disorders: the chicken and the egg

Theor Popul Biol. 2001 Nov;60(3):221-5. doi: 10.1006/tpbi.2001.1535.


Linkage mapping strategies for complex disorders have evolved under a variety of constraints. Some of these constraints reflect the nature of complex disorders and are manifest in limitations on the kinds of data that can be collected, while others were (at least historically) strictly computational. This paper focuses on how computational issues have impacted the design of studies on complex disorders and, conversely, how our study designs have influenced the computational issues that have been addressed. We now have unprecedented computational resources, but also face unprecedented computational and methodological challenges as we move from the linkage mapping of genes influencing susceptibility to complex disorders toward the identification of the actual variation affecting susceptibility to these disorders. The near-term computational and methodological issues we must address will be profoundly influenced by the study designs of the recent past. But future study designs, as well as our investments in computational and methodological research, ought to be developed considering the computational and informatics resources we now have at hand.

MeSH terms

  • Algorithms*
  • Chromosome Mapping / methods*
  • Genetic Linkage*
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease / genetics*
  • Humans
  • Research Design