Alzheimer's disease: analyzing the missing heritability

PLoS One. 2013 Nov 7;8(11):e79771. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0079771. eCollection 2013.

Abstract

Alzheimer's disease (AD) is a complex disorder influenced by environmental and genetic factors. Recent work has identified 11 AD markers in 10 loci. We used Genome-wide Complex Trait Analysis to analyze >2 million SNPs for 10,922 individuals from the Alzheimer's Disease Genetics Consortium to assess the phenotypic variance explained first by known late-onset AD loci, and then by all SNPs in the Alzheimer's Disease Genetics Consortium dataset. In all, 33% of total phenotypic variance is explained by all common SNPs. APOE alone explained 6% and other known markers 2%, meaning more than 25% of phenotypic variance remains unexplained by known markers, but is tagged by common SNPs included on genotyping arrays or imputed with HapMap genotypes. Novel AD markers that explain large amounts of phenotypic variance are likely to be rare and unidentifiable using genome-wide association studies. Based on our findings and the current direction of human genetics research, we suggest specific study designs for future studies to identify the remaining heritability of Alzheimer's disease.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Age of Onset
  • Aged
  • Alzheimer Disease / genetics*
  • Alzheimer Disease / pathology
  • Apolipoproteins E / genetics
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Female
  • Genetic Markers
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease*
  • Genome-Wide Association Study
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Polymorphism, Single Nucleotide*
  • Quantitative Trait Loci*

Substances

  • Apolipoproteins E
  • Genetic Markers

Grant support