Generalized analysis of molecular variance

PLoS Genetics
Caroline M NievergeltNicholas J Schork


Many studies in the fields of genetic epidemiology and applied population genetics are predicated on, or require, an assessment of the genetic background diversity of the individuals chosen for study. A number of strategies have been developed for assessing genetic background diversity. These strategies typically focus on genotype data collected on the individuals in the study, based on a panel of DNA markers. However, many of these strategies are either rooted in cluster analysis techniques, and hence suffer from problems inherent to the assignment of the biological and statistical meaning to resulting clusters, or have formulations that do not permit easy and intuitive extensions. We describe a very general approach to the problem of assessing genetic background diversity that extends the analysis of molecular variance (AMOVA) strategy introduced by Excoffier and colleagues some time ago. As in the original AMOVA strategy, the proposed approach, termed generalized AMOVA (GAMOVA), requires a genetic similarity matrix constructed from the allelic profiles of individuals under study and/or allele frequency summaries of the populations from which the individuals have been sampled. The proposed strategy can be used to either estim...Continue Reading


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