Powerful statistical method to detect disease-associated genes using publicly available genome-wide association studies summary data

Jianjun Zhang, Zihan Zhao, Xuan Guo, Bin Guo, Baolin Wu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have thus far achieved substantial success. In the last decade, a large number of common variants underlying complex diseases have been identified through GWAS. In most existing GWAS, the identified common variants are obtained by single marker-based tests, that is, testing one single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) at a time. Generally, the basic functional unit of inheritance is a gene, rather than a SNP. Thus, results from gene-level association test can be more readily integrated with downstream functional and pathogenic investigation. In this paper, we propose a general gene-based p-value adaptive combination approach (GPA) which can integrate association evidence of multiple genetic variants using only GWAS summary statistics (either p-value or other test statistics). The proposed method could be used to test genetic association for both continuous and binary traits through not only one study but also multiple studies, which would be helpful to overcome the limitation of existing methods that can only be applied to a specific type of data. We conducted thorough simulation studies to verify that the proposed method controls type I errors well, and performs favorably compared to single-marker analysis and other existing methods. We demonstrated the utility of our proposed method through analysis of GWAS meta-analysis results for fasting glucose and lipids from the international MAGIC consortium and Global Lipids Consortium, respectively. The proposed method identified some novel trait associated genes which can improve our understanding of the mechanisms involved in β -cell function, glucose homeostasis, and lipids traits.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)941-951
Number of pages11
JournalGenetic epidemiology
Issue number8
StatePublished - Dec 1 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

Copyright 2019 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • association test
  • genome-wide association study
  • meta-analysis
  • summary data

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article


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