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Identifying loci with different allele frequencies among cases of eight psychiatric disorders using CC-GWAS

By Wouter J. Peyrot, Alkes Price

Posted 05 Mar 2020
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2020.03.04.977389

Psychiatric disorders are highly genetically correlated, and many studies have focused on their shared genetic components. However, little research has been conducted on the genetic differences between psychiatric disorders, because case-case comparisons of allele frequencies among cases currently require individual-level data from cases of both disorders. We developed a new method (CC-GWAS) to test for differences in allele frequency among cases of two different disorders using summary statistics from the respective case-control GWAS; CC-GWAS relies on analytical assessments of the genetic distance between cases and controls of each disorder. Simulations and analytical computations confirm that CC-GWAS is well-powered and attains effective control of type I error. In particular, CC-GWAS identifies and discards false positive associations that can arise due to differential tagging of a shared causal SNP (with the same allele frequency in cases of both disorders), e.g. due to subtle differences in ancestry between the input case-control studies. We applied CC-GWAS to publicly available summary statistics for schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and major depressive disorder, and identified 116 independent genome-wide significant loci distinguishing these three disorders, including 21 CC-GWAS-specific loci that were not genome-wide significant in the input case-control summary statistics. Two of the CC-GWAS-specific loci implicate the genes KLF6 and KLF16 from the Kruppel-like family of transcription factors; these genes have been linked to neurite outgrowth and axon regeneration. We performed a broader set of case-case comparisons by additionally analyzing ADHD, anorexia nervosa, autism, obsessive-compulsive disorder and Tourette’s Syndrome, yielding a total of 196 independent loci distinguishing eight psychiatric disorders, including 72 CC-GWAS-specific loci. We confirmed that loci identified by CC-GWAS replicated convincingly in applications to data sets for which independent replication data were available. In conclusion, CC-GWAS robustly identifies loci with different allele frequencies among cases of different disorders using results from the respective case-control GWAS, providing new insights into the genetic differences between eight psychiatric disorders. ### Competing Interest Statement The authors have declared no competing interest.

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