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Generalization of Cortical MOSTest Genome-Wide Associations Within and Across Samples

By Robert John Loughnan, Alexey A. Shadrin, Oleksandr Frei, Dennis van der Meer, Weiqi Zhao, Clare E Palmer, Wesley E Thompson, Carolina Makowski, Terry Jernigan, Ole A. Andreassen, Chun Chieh Fan, Anders Dale

Posted 24 Apr 2021
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2021.04.23.441215

Genome-Wide Association studies have typically been limited to single phenotypes, given that high dimensional phenotypes incur a large multiple comparisons burden: ~1 million tests across the genome times the number of phenotypes. Recent work demonstrates that a Multivariate Omnibus Statistic Test (MOSTest) is well powered to discover genomic effects distributed across multiple phenotypes. Applied to cortical brain MRI morphology measures, MOSTest has resulted in a drastic improvement in power to discover loci when compared to established approaches (min-P). One question that arises is how well these discovered loci replicate in independent data. Here we perform 10 times cross validation within 35,644 individuals from UK Biobank for imaging measures of cortical area, thickness and sulcal depth (>1,000 dimensionality for each). By deploying a replication method that aggregates discovered effects distributed across multiple phenotypes, termed PolyVertex Score (PVS), we demonstrate a higher replication yield and comparable replication rate of discovered loci for MOSTest (# replicated loci: 348-845, replication rate: 94-95%) in independent data when compared with the established min-P approach (# replicated loci: 31-68, replication rate: 65-80%). An out-of-sample replication of discovered loci was conducted with a sample of 8,336 individuals from the Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development(R) (ABCD) study, who are on average 50 years younger than UK Biobank individuals. We observe a higher replication yield and comparable replication rate of MOSTest compared to min-P. This finding underscores the importance of using well-powered multivariate techniques for both discovery and replication of high dimensional phenotypes in Genome-Wide Association studies.

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