Power and related statistical properties of conditional likelihood score tests for association studies in nuclear families with parental genotypes

Ann Hum Genet. 2005 May;69(Pt 3):296-314. doi: 10.1046/j.1529-8817.2005.00169.x.


Both population based and family based case control studies are used to test whether particular genotypes are associated with disease. While population based studies have more power, cryptic population stratification can produce false-positive results. Family-based methods have been introduced to control for this problem. This paper presents the full likelihood function for family-based association studies for nuclear families ascertained on the basis of their number of affected and unaffected children. The likelihood of a family factors into the probability of parental mating type, conditional on offspring phenotypes, times the probability of offspring genotypes given their phenotypes and the parental mating type. The first factor can be influenced by population stratification, whereas the latter factor, called the conditional likelihood, is not. The conditional likelihood is used to obtain score tests with proper size in the presence of population stratification (see also Clayton (1999) and Whittemore & Tu (2000)). Under either the additive or multiplicative model, the TDT is known to be the optimal score test when the family has only one affected child. Thus, the class of score tests explored can be considered as a general family of TDT-like procedures. The relative informativeness of the various mating types is assessed using the Fisher information, which depends on the number of affected and unaffected offspring and the penetrances. When the additive model is true, families with parental mating type Aa x Aa are most informative. Under the dominant (recessive) model, however, a family with mating type Aa x aa(AA x Aa) is more informative than a family with doubly heterozygous (Aa x Aa) parents. Because we derive explicit formulae for all components of the likelihood, we are able to present tables giving required sample sizes for dominant, additive and recessive inheritance models.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Case-Control Studies
  • Female
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease
  • Genotype*
  • Humans
  • Inheritance Patterns
  • Male
  • Models, Genetic*
  • Models, Statistical*