Tsinghua Science and Technology


Single Nucleotide Polymorphism (SNP), genome-wide association, epistasis, epistatic interaction, complex disease


Genome-Wide Association Studies (GWASs) aim to identify genetic variants that are associated with disease by assaying and analyzing hundreds of thousands of Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms (SNPs). Although traditional single-locus statistical approaches have been standardized and led to many interesting findings, a substantial number of recent GWASs indicate that for most disorders, the individual SNPs explain only a small fraction of the genetic causes. Consequently, exploring multi-SNPs interactions in the hope of discovering more significant associations has attracted more attentions. Due to the huge search space for complicated multi-locus interactions, many fast and effective methods have recently been proposed for detecting disease-associated epistatic interactions using GWAS data. In this paper, we provide a critical review and comparison of eight popular methods, i.e., BOOST, TEAM, epiForest, EDCF, SNPHarvester, epiMODE, MECPM, and MIC, which are used for detecting gene-gene interactions among genetic loci. In views of the assumption model on the data and searching strategies, we divide the methods into seven categories. Moreover, the evaluation methodologies, including detecting powers, disease models for simulation, resources of real GWAS data, and the control of false discover rate, are elaborated as references for new approach developers. At the end of the paper, we summarize the methods and discuss the future directions in genome-wide association studies for detecting epistatic interactions.


Tsinghua University Press