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Bootstrat: Population Informed Bootstrapping for Rare Variant Tests

By Hailiang Huang, Gina M. Peloso, Daniel Howrigan, Barbara Rakitsch, Carl Johann Simon-Gabriel, Jacqueline I Goldstein, Mark J. Daly, Karsten Borgwardt, Benjamin Neale

Posted 11 Aug 2016
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/068999

Recent advances in genotyping and sequencing technologies have made detecting rare variants in large cohorts possible. Various analytic methods for associating disease to rare variants have been proposed, including burden tests, C-alpha and SKAT. Most of these methods, however, assume that samples come from a homogeneous population, which is not realistic for analyses of large samples. Not correcting for population stratification causes inflated p-values and false-positive associations. Here we propose a population-informed bootstrap resampling method that controls for population stratification (Bootstrat) in rare variant tests. In essence, the Bootstrat procedure uses genetic distance to create a phenotype probability for each sample. We show that this empirical approach can effectively correct for population stratification while maintaining statistical power comparable to established methods of controlling for population stratification. The Bootstrat scheme can be easily applied to existing rare variant testing methods with reasonable computational complexity.

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