Background: Here we present two new computer tools, PREMIM and EMIM, for the estimation of parental and child genetic effects, based on genotype data from a variety of different child-parent configurations. PREMIM allows the extraction of child-parent genotype data from standard-format pedigree data files, while EMIM uses the extracted genotype data to perform subsequent statistical analysis. The use of genotype data from the parents as well as from the child in question allows the estimation of complex genetic effects such as maternal genotype effects, maternal-foetal interactions and parent-of-origin (imprinting) effects. These effects are estimated by EMIM, incorporating chosen assumptions such as Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium or exchangeability of parental matings as required.
Results: In application to simulated data, we show that the inference provided by EMIM is essentially equivalent to that provided by alternative (competing) software packages such as MENDEL and LEM. However, PREMIM and EMIM (used in combination) considerably outperform MENDEL and LEM in terms of speed and ease of execution.
Conclusions: Together, EMIM and PREMIM provide easy-to-use command-line tools for the analysis of pedigree data, giving unbiased estimates of parental and child genotype relative risks.