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A method to map and interpret pleiotropic loci using summary statistics of multiple traits

By Cue Hyunkyu Lee, Huwenbo Shi, Bogdan Pasaniuc, Eleazar Eskin, Buhm Han

Posted 17 Jun 2020
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2020.06.16.155879

The identification of pleiotropic loci and the interpretation of the associations at these loci are essential to understand the shared etiology of related traits. A common approach to map pleiotropic loci is to use an existing meta-analysis method to combine summary statistics of multiple traits. This strategy does not take into account the complex genetic architectures of traits such as genetic correlations and heritabilities. Furthermore, the interpretation is challenging because phenotypes often have different characteristics and units. We propose PLEIO, a summary-statistic-based framework to map and interpret pleiotropic loci in a joint analysis of multiple traits. Our method maximizes power by systematically accounting for the genetic correlations and heritabilities of the traits in the association test. Any set of related phenotypes, binary or quantitative traits with differing units, can be combined seamlessly. In addition, our framework offers interpretation and visualization tools to help downstream analyses. Using our method, we combined 18 traits related to cardiovascular disease and identified 20 novel pleiotropic loci, which showed five different patterns of associations. Our method is available at <https://github.com/hanlab-SNU/PLEIO>. ### Competing Interest Statement Buhm Han is the CTO of Genealogy Inc.

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