Performance of single nucleotide polymorphisms versus haplotypes for genome-wide association analysis in barley

Aaron J. Lorenz, Martha T. Hamblin, Jean Luc Jannink

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77 Scopus citations

Abstract

Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) may benefit from utilizing haplotype information for making marker-phenotype associations. Several rationales for grouping single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) into haplotype blocks exist, but any advantage may depend on such factors as genetic architecture of traits, patterns of linkage disequilibrium in the study population, and marker density. The objective of this study was to explore the utility of haplotypes for GWAS in barley (Hordeum vulgare) to offer a first detailed look at this approach for identifying agronomically important genes in crops. To accomplish this, we used genotype and phenotype data from the Barley Coordinated Agricultural Project and constructed haplotypes using three different methods. Marker-trait associations were tested by the efficient mixed-model association algorithm (EMMA). When QTL were simulated using single SNPs dropped from the marker dataset, a simple sliding window performed as well or better than single SNPs or the more sophisticated methods of blocking SNPs into haplotypes. Moreover, the haplotype analyses performed better 1) when QTL were simulated as polymorphisms that arose subsequent to marker variants, and 2) in analysis of empirical heading date data. These results demonstrate that the information content of haplotypes is dependent on the particular mutational and recombinational history of the QTL and nearby markers. Analysis of the empirical data also confirmed our intuition that the distribution of QTL alleles in nature is often unlike the distribution of marker variants, and hence utilizing haplotype information could capture associations that would elude single SNPs. We recommend routine use of both single SNP and haplotype markers for GWAS to take advantage of the full information content of the genotype data.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere14079
JournalPloS one
Volume5
Issue number11
DOIs
StatePublished - 2010

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