Pistis, Giorgio (2015) Rare variant genotype imputation with thousands of study-specific whole-genome sequences: implications for cost-effective study designs. Doctoral Thesis.
The utility of genotype imputation in genome-wide association studies is increasing as progressively larger reference panels are expanded through whole-genome sequencing. Developing general guidelines for optimally cost-effective imputation, however, requires evaluation of performance issues that include the relative utility of study-specific compared with general reference panels; genotyping with various array scaffolds; and assessment of ranges of allele frequencies. Here we compared the effectiveness of study-specific reference panels to the commonly used 1000 Genomes Project (1000G) reference panels in the isolated Sardinian population and in cohorts of European ancestry including samples from Minnesota (USA). We examined different combinations of genome-wide and custom arrays for baseline genotypes. In Sardinians, the study-specific reference panel provided better coverage and genotype imputation accuracy than the 1000G panels and other large European panels. Gain in accuracy was also observed for Minnesotans using the study-specific reference panel, although the increase was smaller than in Sardinians, especially for rare variants. Finally, we found that when imputation is performed with a study-specific reference panel, cutoffs different from the standard thresholds of MACH-Rsq and IMPUTE-INFO metrics should be used to efficiently filter badly imputed rare variants. This study thus provides general guidelines for researchers planning large-scale genetic studies.
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