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Genome-wide association studies (GWASs) have been successful at identifying single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) highly associated with common traits; however, a great deal of the heritable variation associated with common traits remains unaccounted for within the genome. Genome-wide complex trait analysis (GCTA) is a statistical method that applies a linear mixed model to estimate phenotypic variance of complex traits explained by genome-wide SNPs, including those not associated with the trait in a GWAS. We applied GCTA to 8 cohorts containing 7096 case and 19 455 control individuals of European ancestry in order to examine the missing heritability present in Parkinson's disease (PD). We meta-analyzed our initial results to produce robust heritability estimates for PD types across cohorts. Our results identify 27% (95% CI 17-38, P = 8.08E - 08) phenotypic variance associated with all types of PD, 15% (95% CI -0.2 to 33, P = 0.09) phenotypic variance associated with early-onset PD and 31% (95% CI 17-44, P = 1.34E - 05) phenotypic variance associated with late-onset PD. This is a substantial increase from the genetic variance identified by top GWAS hits alone (between 3 and 5%) and indicates there are substantially more risk loci to be identified. Our results suggest that although GWASs are a useful tool in identifying the most common variants associated with complex disease, a great deal of common variants of small effect remain to be discovered.

Original publication

DOI

10.1093/hmg/dds335

Type

Journal article

Journal

Hum Mol Genet

Publication Date

15/11/2012

Volume

21

Pages

4996 - 5009

Keywords

Adult, Aged, Aged, 80 and over, European Continental Ancestry Group, Female, Genetic Predisposition to Disease, Genetic Variation, Genome-Wide Association Study, Humans, Male, Middle Aged, Multifactorial Inheritance, Parkinson Disease, Quantitative Trait, Heritable