Improved techniques for sampling complex pedigrees with the Gibbs sampler

Genet Sel Evol. Jan-Feb 2007;39(1):27-38. doi: 10.1186/1297-9686-39-1-27. Epub 2007 Jan 11.


Markov chain Monte Carlo (MCMC) methods have been widely used to overcome computational problems in linkage and segregation analyses. Many variants of this approach exist and are practiced; among the most popular is the Gibbs sampler. The Gibbs sampler is simple to implement but has (in its simplest form) mixing and reducibility problems; furthermore in order to initiate a Gibbs sampling chain we need a starting genotypic or allelic configuration which is consistent with the marker data in the pedigree and which has suitable weight in the joint distribution. We outline a procedure for finding such a configuration in pedigrees which have too many loci to allow for exact peeling. We also explain how this technique could be used to implement a blocking Gibbs sampler.

MeSH terms

  • Algorithms*
  • Animals
  • Gene Frequency
  • Genetic Linkage*
  • Humans
  • Pedigree*
  • Probability
  • Statistics as Topic / methods*