Differentiating Population Stratification from Genotyping Error Using Family Data

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Identifying population stratification and genotyping error are important for candidate gene association studies using the Transmission Disequilibrium Test (TDT). Although the TDT retains the prespecified Type I error in the presence of population stratification, the test may have decreased power in the presence of population stratification. Genotyping error can also cause the TDT to have an elevated Type I error. Differentiating population stratification from genotyping error remains a challenge for geneticists. Both genotyping error and population stratification can result in an increase in the observed homozygosity of a sample relative to that expected assuming Hardy-Weinberg Equilibrium (HWE). We show that when family data are available, even if a limited number of markers are genotyped, evaluating the markers that show statistically significant deviation from HWE with the Mating Type Distortion Test (MTDT) – a test based on the mating type distribution – can reliably differentiate genotyping error from population stratification. We simulate data based on several models of genotyping error in previously published literature, and show how this method could be used in practice to assist in differentiating population stratification from systematic genotyping error.

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