Application of genome-wide SNP data for uncovering pairwise relationships and quantitative trait loci

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The genetic analysis of quantitative traits in humans is changing as a result of the availability of whole-genome SNP data. Heritability analysis can make use of actual genetic sharing between pairs of individuals estimated from the genotype data, rather than the expected genetic sharing implied by their family relationship. This could provide more accurate heritability estimates and help to overcome the equal environment assumption. Quantitative trait locus (QTL) linkage mapping can make use of local genetic sharing inferred from very dense local genotype data from pedigree members or individuals not previously known to be related. This approach may be particularly suited for detecting loci that contain rare variants with major effect on the phenotype. Finally, whole-genome SNP data can be used to measure the genetic similarity between individuals to provide matched sets for association studies, in order to avoid spurious association from population stratification.

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