Association studies under general disease models

Theor Popul Biol. 2001 Nov;60(3):253-63. doi: 10.1006/tpbi.2001.1539.


There is great expectation that the levels of association found between genetic markers and disease status will play a role in the location of disease genes. This expectation follows from regarding association as being proportional to linkage disequilibrium and therefore inversely related to recombination value. For disease genes with more than two alleles, the association measure is instead a weighted average of linkage disequilibria, with the weights depending on allele frequencies and genotype susceptibilities at the disease loci. There is no longer a simple relationship, even in expectation, with recombination. We adopt a general framework to examine association mapping methods which helps to clarify the nature of case-control and transmission/disequilibrium-type tests and reveals the relationship between measures of association and coefficients of linkage disequilibrium. In particular, we can show the consequences of additive and nonadditive effects at the trait locus on the behavior of these tests. These concepts have a natural extension to marker haplotypes. The association of two-locus marker haplotypes with disease phenotype depends on a weighted average of three-locus disequilibria (two markers with each disease locus). It is likely that these two-marker analyses will provide additional information in association mapping studies.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Alleles
  • Apolipoproteins E / genetics
  • Chromosome Mapping / methods*
  • Cytochrome P-450 CYP2D6 / genetics
  • Genetic Markers*
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease*
  • Genotype
  • Haplotypes
  • Humans
  • Linkage Disequilibrium*
  • Models, Genetic*
  • Phenotype


  • Apolipoproteins E
  • Genetic Markers
  • Cytochrome P-450 CYP2D6