After the genome-wide association studies (GWAS) era, whole-genome sequencing is highly engaged in identifying the association of complex traits with rare variations. A score-based variance-component test has been proposed to identify common and rare genetic variants associated with complex traits while quickly adjusting for covariates. Such kernel score statistic allows for familial dependencies and adjusts for random confounding effects. However, the etiology of complex traits may involve the effects of genetic and environmental factors and the complex interactions between genes and the environment. Therefore, in this research, a novel method is proposed to detect gene and gene-environment interactions in a complex family-based association study with various correlated structures. We also developed an R function for the Fast Gene-Environment Sequence Kernel Association Test (FGE-SKAT), which is freely available as supplementary material for easy GWAS implementation to unveil such family-based joint effects. Simulation studies confirmed the validity of the new strategy and the superior statistical power. The FGE-SKAT was applied to the whole genome sequence data provided by Genetic Analysis Workshop 18 (GAW18) and discovered concordant and discordant regions compared to the methods without considering gene by environment interactions.
|State||Published - Dec 2021|