As more investigators conduct extensive whole-genome linkage scans for complex traits, interest is growing in meta-analysis as a way of integrating the weak or conflicting evidence from multiple studies. However, there is a bias in the most commonly used meta-analysis linkage technique (i.e., Fisher's [1925] method of combining of P values) when it is applied to many nonparametric (i.e., model free) linkage results. The bias arises in those methods (e.g., variance components, affected sib pair, extremely discordant sib pairs, etc.) that truncate all "negative evidence against linkage" into the single value of LOD = 0. If incorrectly handled, this bias can artificially inflate or deflate the combined meta-analysis linkage results for any given locus. This is an especially troublesome problem in the context of a genome scan, since LOD = 0 is expected to occur over half the unlinked genome. The bias can be overcome (nearly) completely by simply interpreting LOD = 0 as a P value of 1/2ln(2) ≅ .72 in Fisher's formula.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)660-663
Number of pages4
JournalAmerican journal of human genetics
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2001


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