Comparison of the linkage results of two phenotypic constructs from longitudinal data in the Framingham Heart Study...
Background: Family studies are often conducted in a cross-sectional manner without long-term follow-up data. The relative contribution of a gene to a specific trait could change over the lifetime. The Framingham Heart Study offers a unique opportunity to investigate potential gene x time interaction. We performed linkage analysis on the body mass index (BMI) measured in 1970, 1978, and 1986 for this project. Results: We analyzed the data in two different ways: three genome-wide linkage analyses on each exam, and one genome-wide linkage analysis on the mean of the three measurements. Variance-component linkage analyses were performed by the SOLAR program. Genome-wide scans show consistent evidence of linkage of quantitative trait loci (QTLs) on chromosomes 3, 6, 9, and 16 in three measurements with a maximum multipoint LOD score > 2.2. However, only chromosome 9 has a LOD score = 2.14 when the mean values were analyzed. More interestingly, we found potential gene x environment interactions: increasing LOD scores with age on chromosomes 3, 9, and 16 and decreasing LOD scores on chromosome 6 in the three exams.
Conclusion: The results indicate two points: 1) it is possible that a gene (or genes) influencing BMI is (are) up- or down-regulated as people aged due to aging process or changes in lifestyle, environments, or genetic epistasis; 2) using mean values from longitudinal data may reduce the power to detect linkage and may have no power to detect gene x time, and/or gene x gene interactions.
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- BMC Genetics
Full Title - Comparison of the linkage results of two phenotypic constructs from longitudinal data in the Framingham Heart Study: analyses on data measured at three time points and on the average of three measurements