Finding noncommunicating sets for Markov chain Monte Carlo estimations on pedigrees

Am J Hum Genet. 1994 Apr;54(4):695-704.


Markov chain Monte Carlo (MCMC) has recently gained use as a method of estimating required probability and likelihood functions in pedigree analysis, when exact computation is impractical. However, when a multiallelic locus is involved, irreducibility of the constructed Markov chain, an essential requirement of the MCMC method, may fail. Solutions proposed by several researchers, which do not identify all the noncommunicating sets of genotypic configurations, are inefficient with highly polymorphic loci. This is a particularly serious problem in linkage analysis, because highly polymorphic markers are much more informative and thus are preferred. In the present paper, we describe an algorithm that finds all the noncommunicating classes of genotypic configurations on any pedigree. This leads to a more efficient method of defining an irreducible Markov chain. Examples, including a pedigree from a genetic study of familial Alzheimer disease, are used to illustrate how the algorithm works and how penetrances are modified for specific individuals to ensure irreducibility.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Algorithms*
  • Alzheimer Disease / genetics
  • Child
  • Female
  • Genotype
  • Haplotypes
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Markov Chains*
  • Models, Genetic*
  • Monte Carlo Method*
  • Pedigree*