ShinyGPA: An interactive visualization toolkit for investigating pleiotropic architecture using GWAS datasets

PLoS One. 2018 Jan 8;13(1):e0190949. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0190949. eCollection 2018.


In spite of accumulating evidence suggesting that different complex traits share a common risk basis, namely pleiotropy, effective investigation of pleiotropic architecture still remains challenging. In order to address this challenge, we developed ShinyGPA, an interactive and dynamic visualization toolkit to investigate pleiotropic structure. ShinyGPA requires only the summary statistics from genome-wide association studies (GWAS), which reduces the burden on researchers using this tool. ShinyGPA allows users to effectively investigate genetic relationships among phenotypes using a flexible low-dimensional visualization and an intuitive user interface. In addition, ShinyGPA provides joint association mapping functionality that can facilitate biological understanding of the pleiotropic architecture. We analyzed GWAS summary statistics for 12 phenotypes using ShinyGPA and obtained visualization results and joint association mapping results that are well supported by the literature. The visualization produced by ShinyGPA can also be used as a hypothesis generating tool for relationships between phenotypes, which might also be used to improve the design of future genetic studies. ShinyGPA is currently available at

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Algorithms
  • Databases, Genetic*
  • Genetic Pleiotropy*
  • Genome-Wide Association Study*
  • Humans
  • Polymorphism, Single Nucleotide
  • User-Computer Interface