Following years of epigenome-wide association studies (EWAS), traits analysed to date tend to yield few associations. Reinforcing this observation, we conducted EWAS on 400 traits and 16 yielded at least one association at the conventional significance threshold (P<1x10 -7). To investigate why EWAS yield is low, we formally estimated the proportion of phenotypic variation captured by 421,693 blood derived DNA methylation markers (h2EWAS) across all 400 traits. The mean h2EWAS was zero, with evidence for regular cigarette smoking exhibiting the largest association with all markers (h2EWAS=0.42) and the only one surpassing a false discovery rate < 0.1. Though underpowered to determine the h2EWAS value for any one trait, h2EWAS was predictive of the number of EWAS hits across the traits analysed (AUC=0.7). Modelling the contributions of the methylome on a per-site versus a per-region basis gave varied h2EWAS estimates (r=0.47) but neither approach obtained substantially higher model fits across all traits. Our analysis indicates that most complex traits do not heavily associate with markers commonly measured in EWAS within blood. However, it is likely DNA methylation does capture variation in some traits and h2EWAS may be a reasonable way to prioritise traits that are likely to yield associations. ### Competing Interest Statement The authors have declared no competing interest.
- Downloaded 113 times
- Download rankings, all-time:
- Site-wide: 125,601
- In genetics: 5,284
- Year to date:
- Site-wide: 95,154
- Since beginning of last month:
- Site-wide: 95,226
Downloads over time
Distribution of downloads per paper, site-wide
- 27 Nov 2020: The website and API now include results pulled from medRxiv as well as bioRxiv.
- 18 Dec 2019: We're pleased to announce PanLingua, a new tool that enables you to search for machine-translated bioRxiv preprints using more than 100 different languages.
- 21 May 2019: PLOS Biology has published a community page about Rxivist.org and its design.
- 10 May 2019: The paper analyzing the Rxivist dataset has been published at eLife.
- 1 Mar 2019: We now have summary statistics about bioRxiv downloads and submissions.
- 8 Feb 2019: Data from Altmetric is now available on the Rxivist details page for every preprint. Look for the "donut" under the download metrics.
- 30 Jan 2019: preLights has featured the Rxivist preprint and written about our findings.
- 22 Jan 2019: Nature just published an article about Rxivist and our data.
- 13 Jan 2019: The Rxivist preprint is live!