In the study of complex traits, the utility of linkage analysis and single marker association tests can be limited for researchers attempting to elucidate the complex interplay between a gene and environmental covariates. For these purposes, tests of gene-environment interactions are needed. In addition, recent studies have indicated that haplotypes, which are specific combinations of nucleotides on the same chromosome, may be more suitable as the unit of analysis for statistical tests than single genetic markers. The difficulty with this approach is that, in standard laboratory genotyping, haplotypes are often not directly observable. Instead, unphased marker phenotypes are collected. In this article, we present a method for estimating and testing haplotype-environment interactions when linkage phase is potentially ambiguous. The method builds on the work of Schaid et al.  and is applicable to any trait that can be placed in the generalized linear model framework. Simulations were run to illustrate the salient features of the method. In addition, the method was used to test for haplotype-smoking exposure interaction with data from the Childhood Asthma Management Program.
Copyright 2003 S. Karger AG, Basel