An improved procedure of mapping a quantitative trait locus via the EM algorithm using posterior probabilities
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Mapping a locus controlling a quantitative genetic trait (e.g. blood pressure) to a specific genomic region is of considerable contemporary interest. Data on the quantitative trait under consideration and several codominant genetic markers with known genomic locations are collected from members of families and statistically analysed to estimate the recombination fraction, θ, between the putative quantitative trait locus and a genetic marker. One of the major complications in estimating θ for a quantitative trait in humans is the lack of haplotype information on members of families. We have devised a computationally simple two-stage method of estimation of θ in the absence of haplotypic information using the expectation-maximization (EM) algorithm. In the first stage, parameters of the quantitative trait locus (QTL) are estimated on the basis of data of a sample of unrelated individuals and a Bayes’s rule is used to classify each parent into a QTL genotypic class. In the second stage, we have proposed an EM algorithm for obtaining the maximum-likelihood estimate of θ based on data of informative families (which are identified upon inferring parental QTL genotypes performed in the first stage). The purpose of this paper is to investigate whether, instead of using genotypically ‘classified’ data of parents, the use of posterior probabilities of QT genotypes of parents at the second stage yields better estimators. We show, using simulated data, that the proposed procedure using posterior probabilities is statistically more efficient than our earlier classification procedure, although it is computationally heavier.
Keywordsrecombination fraction linkage maximum likelihood estimation
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