BACKGROUND: Genetic epistasis is an often-overlooked area in the study of the genomics of complex traits. Genome-wide association studies are a useful tool for revealing potential causal genetic variants, but in this context, epistasis is generally ignored. Data complexity and interpretation issues make it difficult to process and interpret epistasis. As the number of interaction grows exponentially with the number of variants, computational limitation is a bottleneck. Gene Network based strategies have been successful in integrating biological data and identifying relevant hub genes and pathways related to complex traits. In this study, epistatic interactions and network-based analysis are combined in the Weighted Interaction SNP hub (WISH) method and implemented in an efficient and easy to use R package.
RESULTS: The WISH R package (WISH-R) was developed to calculate epistatic interactions on a genome-wide level based on genomic data. It is easy to use and install, and works on regular genomic data. The package filters data based on linkage disequilibrium and calculates epistatic interaction coefficients between SNP pairs based on a parallelized efficient linear model and generalized linear model implementations. Normalized epistatic coefficients are analyzed in a network framework, alleviating multiple testing issues and integrating biological signal to identify modules and pathways related to complex traits. Functions for visualizing results and testing runtimes are also provided.
CONCLUSION: The WISH-R package is an efficient implementation for analyzing genome-wide epistasis for complex diseases and traits. It includes methods and strategies for analyzing epistasis from initial data filtering until final data interpretation. WISH offers a new way to analyze genomic data by combining epistasis and network based analysis in one method and provides options for visualizations. This alleviates many of the existing hurdles in the analysis of genomic interactions.
|Publication status||Published - 31 Jul 2018|