May 12, 2010

PheWAS: demonstrating the feasibility of a phenome-wide scan to discover gene–disease associations

Filed under: Bioinformatics — Biointelligence: Education,Training & Consultancy Services @ 9:30 am
Tags: , ,

Emergence of genetic data coupled to longitudinal electronic medical records (EMRs) offers the possibility of phenome-wide association scans (PheWAS) for disease–gene associations. We propose a novel method to scan phenomic data for genetic associations using International Classification of Disease (ICD9) billing codes, which are available in most EMR systems. We have developed a code translation table to automatically define 776 different disease populations and their controls using prevalent ICD9 codes derived from EMR data. As a proof of concept of this algorithm, we genotyped the first 6005 European–Americans accrued into BioVU, Vanderbilt’s DNA biobank, at five single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) with previously reported disease associations: atrial fibrillation, Crohn’s disease, carotid artery stenosis, coronary artery disease, multiple sclerosis, systemic lupus erythematosus and rheumatoid arthritis. The PheWAS software generated cases and control populations across all ICD9 code groups for each of these five SNPs, and disease-SNP associations were analyzed. The primary outcome of this study was replication of seven previously known SNP–disease associations for these SNPs.

Results: Four of seven known SNP–disease associations using the PheWAS algorithm were replicated with P-values between 2.8 x 10–6 and 0.011. The PheWAS algorithm also identified 19 previously unknown statistical associations between these SNPs and diseases at P < 0.01. This study indicates that PheWAS analysis is a feasible method to investigate SNP–disease associations. Further evaluation is needed to determine the validity of these associations and the appropriate statistical thresholds for clinical significance.

Availability:The PheWAS software and code translation table are freely available at

April 5, 2010

CandiSNPer: a web tool for the identification of candidate SNPs for causal variants

Filed under: Bioinformatics — Biointelligence: Education,Training & Consultancy Services @ 9:00 am
Tags: , , , ,

Human single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) chips which are used in genome-wide association studies (GWAS) permit the genotyping of up to 4 million SNPs simultaneously. To date, about 1000 human SNPs have been identified as statistically significantly associated with a disease or another trait of interest. The identified SNP is not necessarily the causal variant, but it is rather in linkage disequilibrium (LD) with it. CandiSNPer is a software tool that determines the LD region around a significant SNP from a GWAS. It provides a list with functional annotation and LD values for the SNPs found in the LD region. This list contains not only the SNPs for which genotyping data are available, but all SNPs with rs-IDs, thus increasing the likelihood to include the causal variant. Furthermore, plots showing the LD values are generated. CandiSNPer facilitates the preselection of candidate SNPs for causal variants.

Availability and Implementation: The CandiSNPer server is freely available at The source code is available to academic users ‘as is’ upon request. The web site is implemented in Perl and R and runs on an Apache server. The Ensembl database is queried for SNP data via Perl APIs.