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Eberly College of Arts and Sciences




Genomic imprinting is a phenomenon in which the same allele is expressed differently, depending on its parental origin. Such a phenomenon, also called the parent-of-origin effect, has been recognized to play a pivotal role in embryological development and pathogenesis in many species. Here we propose a statistical design for detecting imprinted loci that control quantitative traits based on a random set of three-generation families from a natural population in humans. This design provides a pathway for characterizing the effects of imprinted genes on a complex trait or disease at different generations and testing transgenerational changes of imprinted effects. The design is integrated with population and cytogenetic principles of gene segregation and transmission from a previous generation to next. The implementation of the EM algorithm within the design framework leads to the estimation of genetic parameters that define imprinted effects. A simulation study is used to investigate the statistical properties of the model and validate its utilization. This new design, coupled with increasingly used genome-wide association studies, should have an immediate implication for studying the genetic architecture of complex traits in humans.

Source Citation

Li Y, Guo Y, Wang J, Hou W, Chang MN, Liao D, et al. (2011) A Statistical Design for Testing Transgenerational Genomic Imprinting in Natural Human Populations. PLoS ONE 6(2): e16858.


© 2011 Li et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.



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