Visually integrating and exploring high throughput Phenome-Wide Association Study (PheWAS) results using PheWAS-View

BioData Min. 2012 Jun 8;5(1):5. doi: 10.1186/1756-0381-5-5.


Background: Phenome-Wide Association Studies (PheWAS) can be used to investigate the association between single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and a wide spectrum of phenotypes. This is a complementary approach to Genome Wide Association studies (GWAS) that calculate the association between hundreds of thousands of SNPs and one or a limited range of phenotypes. The extensive exploration of the association between phenotypic structure and genotypic variation through PheWAS produces a set of complex and comprehensive results. Integral to fully inspecting, analysing, and interpreting PheWAS results is visualization of the data.

Results: We have developed the software PheWAS-View for visually integrating PheWAS results, including information about the SNPs, relevant genes, phenotypes, and the interrelationships between phenotypes, that exist in PheWAS. As a result both the fine grain detail as well as the larger trends that exist within PheWAS results can be elucidated.

Conclusions: PheWAS can be used to discover novel relationships between SNPs, phenotypes, and networks of interrelated phenotypes; identify pleiotropy; provide novel mechanistic insights; and foster hypothesis generation - and these results can be both explored and presented with PheWAS-View. PheWAS-View is freely available for non-commercial research institutions, for full details see