Optimal selection of markers for validation or replication from genome-wide association studies

Genet Epidemiol. 2007 Jul;31(5):396-407. doi: 10.1002/gepi.20220.


With reductions in genotyping costs and the fast pace of improvements in genotyping technology, it is not uncommon for the individuals in a single study to undergo genotyping using several different platforms, where each platform may contain different numbers of markers selected via different criteria. For example, a set of cases and controls may be genotyped at markers in a small set of carefully selected candidate genes, and shortly thereafter, the same cases and controls may be used for a genome-wide single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) association study. After such initial investigations, often, a subset of "interesting" markers is selected for validation or replication. Specifically, by validation, we refer to the investigation of associations between the selected subset of markers and the disease in independent data. However, it is not obvious how to choose the best set of markers for this validation. There may be a prior expectation that some sets of genotyping data are more likely to contain real associations. For example, it may be more likely for markers in plausible candidate genes to show disease associations than markers in a genome-wide scan. Hence, it would be desirable to select proportionally more markers from the candidate gene set. When a fixed number of markers are selected for validation, we propose an approach for identifying an optimal marker-selection configuration by basing the approach on minimizing the stratified false discovery rate. We illustrate this approach using a case-control study of colorectal cancer from Ontario, Canada, and we show that this approach leads to substantial reductions in the estimated false discovery rates in the Ontario dataset for the selected markers, as well as reductions in the expected false discovery rates for the proposed validation dataset.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Validation Study

MeSH terms

  • Biomarkers, Tumor / genetics
  • Biometry
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / genetics
  • Databases, Genetic
  • False Positive Reactions
  • Genetic Markers*
  • Genome, Human
  • Genomics / methods*
  • Genotype
  • Humans
  • Models, Genetic
  • Polymorphism, Single Nucleotide


  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • Genetic Markers