A spectral approach integrating functional genomic annotations for coding and noncoding variants

Nat Genet. 2016 Feb;48(2):214-20. doi: 10.1038/ng.3477. Epub 2016 Jan 4.


Over the past few years, substantial effort has been put into the functional annotation of variation in human genome sequences. Such annotations can have a critical role in identifying putatively causal variants for a disease or trait among the abundant natural variation that occurs at a locus of interest. The main challenges in using these various annotations include their large numbers and their diversity. Here we develop an unsupervised approach to integrate these different annotations into one measure of functional importance (Eigen) that, unlike most existing methods, is not based on any labeled training data. We show that the resulting meta-score has better discriminatory ability using disease-associated and putatively benign variants from published studies (in both coding and noncoding regions) than the recently proposed CADD score. Across varied scenarios, the Eigen score performs generally better than any single individual annotation, representing a powerful single functional score that can be incorporated in fine-mapping studies.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease
  • Genome, Human*
  • Humans
  • Mutation
  • Quantitative Trait Loci