Selection of genetic markers for association analyses, using linkage disequilibrium and haplotypes

Am J Hum Genet. 2003 Jul;73(1):115-30. doi: 10.1086/376561. Epub 2003 Jun 5.


The genotyping of closely spaced single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) markers frequently yields highly correlated data, owing to extensive linkage disequilibrium (LD) between markers. The extent of LD varies widely across the genome and drives the number of frequent haplotypes observed in small regions. Several studies have illustrated the possibility that LD or haplotype data could be used to select a subset of SNPs that optimize the information retained in a genomic region while reducing the genotyping effort and simplifying the analysis. We propose a method based on the spectral decomposition of the matrices of pairwise LD between markers, and we select markers on the basis of their contributions to the total genetic variation. We also modify Clayton's "haplotype tagging SNP" selection method, which utilizes haplotype information. For both methods, we propose sliding window-based algorithms that allow the methods to be applied to large chromosomal regions. Our procedures require genotype information about a small number of individuals for an initial set of SNPs and selection of an optimum subset of SNPs that could be efficiently genotyped on larger numbers of samples while retaining most of the genetic variation in samples. We identify suitable parameter combinations for the procedures, and we show that a sample size of 50-100 individuals achieves consistent results in studies of simulated data sets in linkage equilibrium and LD. When applied to experimental data sets, both procedures were similarly effective at reducing the genotyping requirement while maintaining the genetic information content throughout the regions. We also show that haplotype-association results that Hosking et al. obtained near CYP2D6 were almost identical before and after marker selection.

MeSH terms

  • Alleles
  • Genetic Markers*
  • Haplotypes*
  • Humans
  • Linkage Disequilibrium*
  • Polymorphism, Single Nucleotide


  • Genetic Markers