Finemap-MiXeR: A variational Bayesian approach for genetic finemapping

Kavli Affiliate: Anders Dale

| Authors: Bayram Cevdet Akdeniz, Oleksandr Frei, Alexey Shadrin, Dmitry Vetrov, Dmitry Kropotov, Anders Dale, Eivind Hovig and Ole Andreassen

| Summary:

Abstract Discoveries from genome-wide association studies often contain large clusters of highly correlated genetic variants, which makes them hard to interpret. In such cases, finemapping the underlying causal variants become important. Here we present a new method, the Finemap-MiXeR, based on a variational Bayesian approach for finemapping genomic data, i.e., determining the causal single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) associated with a trait at a given locus after controlling for correlation among genetic variants due to linkage disequilibrium. Our approach is based on the optimization of Evidence Lower Bound of the likelihood function obtained from the MiXeR model. The optimization is done using Adaptive Moment Estimation Algorithm, allowing to obtain posterior probability of each SNP to be a causal variant. We tested Finemap-MiXeR in a range of different scenarios, using both synthetic and real data from the UK Biobank, using standing height phenotype as an example. In comparison to the FINEMAP and SuSiE methods, we observed that Finemap-MiXeR in most cases has better accuracy. Furthermore, it is computationally efficient, and unlike other methods the complexity is not increasing as the number of causal SNPs or the heritability increases. We show that our finemapping algorithm identifies a small number of genetic variants per locus which are informative for predicting the phenotype in an independent sample.

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