Multiple testing for SNP-SNP interactions

Stat Appl Genet Mol Biol. 2007;6:Article37. doi: 10.2202/1544-6115.1315. Epub 2007 Dec 26.


Most genetic diseases are complex, i.e. associated to combinations of SNPs rather than individual SNPs. In the last few years, this topic has often been addressed in terms of SNP-SNP interaction patterns given as expressions linked by logical operators. Methods for multiple testing in high-dimensional settings can be applied when many SNPs are considered simultaneously. However, another less well-known multiple testing problem arises within a fixed subset of SNPs when the logic expression is chosen optimally. In this article, we propose a general asymptotic approach for deriving the distribution of the maximally selected chi-square statistic in various situations. We show how this result can be used for testing logic expressions - in particular SNP-SNP interaction patterns - while controlling for multiple comparisons. Simulations show that our method provides multiple testing adjustments when the logic expression is chosen such as to maximize the statistic. Its benefit is demonstrated through an application to a real dataset from a large population-based study considering allergy and asthma in KORA. An implementation of our method is available from the Comprehensive R Archive Network (CRAN) as R package 'SNPmaxsel'.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Computer Simulation*
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease*
  • Humans
  • Linkage Disequilibrium
  • Polymorphism, Single Nucleotide*