Biostatistics & Computational Biology Branch
Examples of ongoing projects include:
GADGETS: The branch developed a method (Genetic Algorithm for Detecting Genetic Epistasis using Triads or Siblings) to efficiently explore huge search spaces to find multi-SNP interactions. The method is applicable to case-parent triad genetic studies that use the nontransmitted parental alleles to create a “pseudo-sibling” control, or to case-sibling studies that use an unaffected sibling as control. We applied it to identify clusters of SNPs that appear to act together to increase the risk of the birth defect, oral clefting.
Multilocus association methods: Approaches are needed for efficiently capturing joint effects of multiple SNPs and SNPs interacting with multiple environmental factors, including methods that are robust with respect to the underlying genetic model of association, and with respect to the model that specifies the interactive effects. The methods under development should prove useful for discovery of interactions in case-control association studies and family studies, and should be informative in pathway analysis applications.