MAY 13, 2015 3:00 PM PDT

Using the network architecture of eQTLs to understand complex traits

Speaker
  • Instructor, Channing Division of Network Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School
    BIOGRAPHY

Abstract

Genome Wide Association Studies (GWAS) and eQTL analyses are producing huge numbers of associations and show no signs of slowing. There are now more than 8,500 SNPs associated with more than 350 complex traits reported in the NHGRI GWAS Catalog. However, interpreting these associations collectively in a functional context remains a challenge. Using genotyping and gene expression data from 163 lung tissue samples in a lower respiratory disease study, we calculated eQTL associations between SNPs and genes and cast significant associations as links in a bipartite network. We identified biological function by focusing on densely linked communities, which comprise groups of SNPs associated with groups of genes. By investigating the intermediate scale of network organization, we found GWAS SNPs enriched at the cores of these communities, including GWAS hits for COPD, asthma, and pulmonary function, among others. We believe these methods are widely applicable to any data set that can be represented as a bipartite network with a giant connected component.


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MAY 13, 2015 3:00 PM PDT

Using the network architecture of eQTLs to understand complex traits



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