Linkage analysis for diseases with variable age of onset

Kimberly D. Siegmund, Alexandre A. Todorov

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


We present a method for the multivariate linkage analysis of the age of onset of a disease. The approach allows the incorporation of covariates for the study of gene by environment interactions. It is applicable to general pedigrees. The likelihood of the data is expressed as a function of the number of alleles identical by descent at a marker, the censored ages of onset and disease status, and environmental exposures. In a simulation study, we compare the power to detect linkage under different sampling schemes for either a dominant or recessive trait when approximately 10% of individuals are gene carriers. The majority of the linkage information from a sample of randomly selected sib pairs was retained when the analyses were limited to sibships with one sibling having early-onset disease (< 59 years old). Incorporating parental phenotypes could improve the power to detect the gene. When the sample consists of affected sib pairs (ASPs) having variable age of onset, the likelihood ratio (LR) test had higher power than the means (t2) test for detecting a locus with a large genetic relative risk (R(g) = 20). However, the power of the two tests was similar when ASPs are selected so that the proband has an early onset of disease. Lastly, the LR test had more power than the t2 test to detect linkage in the presence of gene by environment interactions. Copyright (C) 2000 S. Karger AG, Basel.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)205-210
Number of pages6
JournalHuman heredity
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2000


  • Censored age of onset
  • Cox model
  • Linkage analysis
  • Sib pair methods


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