Inferences about linkage disequilibrium

Biometrics. 1979 Mar;35(1):235-54.


Existing theory for inferences about linkage disequilibrium is restricted to a measure defined on gametic frequencies. Unless gametic frequencies are directly observable, they are inferred from genotypic frequencies under the assumption of random union of gametes. Primary emphasis in this paper is given to genotypic data, and disequilibrium coefficients are defined for all subsets of two or more of the four genes, two at each of two loci, carried by an individual. Linkage disequilibrium coefficients are defined for genes within and between gametes, and methods of estimating and testing these coefficients are given for gametic data. For genotypic data, when coupling and repulsion double heterozygotes cannot be distinguished. Burrows' composite measure of linkage disequilibrium is discussed. In particular, the estimate for this measure and hypothesis tests based on it are compared to the usual maximum likelihood estimate of gametic linkage disequilibrium, and corresponding likelihood ratio or contingency chi-square tests. General use of the composite measure, whether or not random union of gametes is an appropriate assumption, is recommended. Attention is given to small samples, where the non-normality of gene frequencies will have greatest effect on methods of inference based on normal theory. Even tools such as Fisher's z-transformation for the correlation of gene frequencies are found to perform quite satisfactorily.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Gene Frequency
  • Genetic Linkage*
  • Genetics, Population*
  • Genotype*
  • Humans
  • Statistics as Topic