A scan statistic for identifying chromosomal patterns of SNP association

Yan V. Sun, Albert M. Levin, Eric Boerwinkle, Henry Robertson, Sharon L.R. Kardia*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


We have developed a single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) association scan statistic that takes into account the complex distribution of the human genome variation in the identification of chromosomal regions with significant SNP associations. This scan statistic has wide applicability for genetic analysis, whether to identify important chromosomal regions associated with common diseases based on whole-genome SNP association studies or to identify disease susceptibility genes based on dense SNP positional candidate studies. To illustrate this method, we analyzed patterns of SNP associations on chromosome 19 in a large cohort study. Among 2,944 SNPs, we found seven regions that contained clusters of significantly associated SNPs. The average width of these regions was 35kb with a range of 10-72 kb. We compared the scan statistic results to Fisher's product method using a sliding window approach, and detected 22 regions with significant clusters of SNP associations. The average width of these regions was 131kb with a range of 10.1-615 kb. Given that the distances between SNPs are not taken into consideration in the sliding window approach, it is likely that a large fraction of these regions represents false positives. However, all seven regions detected by the scan statistic were also detected by the sliding window approach. The linkage disequilibrium (LD) patterns within the seven regions were highly variable indicating that the clusters of SNP associations were not due to LD alone. The scan statistic developed here can be used to make gene-based or region-based SNP inferences about disease association.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)627-635
Number of pages9
JournalGenetic Epidemiology
Issue number7
StatePublished - Nov 2006


  • Disease association
  • Genome-wide association
  • Poisson process
  • Single nucleotide polymorphism


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