Recently, joint analysis of multiple traits has become popular because it can increase statistical power to identify genetic variants associated with complex diseases. Currently, most of existing methods test the association between multiple traits and a single genetic variant. However, these methods by analyzing one variant at a time may not be ideal for rare variant association studies because of the allelic heterogeneity as well as the extreme rarity of rare variants. In this talk, we will present a statistical method by testing an optimally weighted combination of variants with multiple traits (TOWmuT) to test the association between multiple traits and a weighted combination of variants (rare and/or common) in a genomic region. TOWmuT is robust to the directions of effects of causal variants and is applicable to different types of traits. I will show the simulation results on the performance of TOWmuT compared with other five existing methods and real data application results from a lung function study.
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