Partitioning heritability by functional category using GWAS summary statistics

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
Hilary K FinucaneAlkes L Price

Abstract

Recent work has demonstrated that some functional categories of the genome contribute disproportionately to the heritability of complex diseases. Here, we analyze a broad set of functional elements, including cell-type-specific elements, to estimate their polygenic contributions to heritability in genome-wide association studies (GWAS) of 17 complex diseases and traits spanning a total of 1.3 million phenotype measurements. To enable this analysis, we introduce a new method for partitioning heritability from GWAS summary statistics while controlling for linked markers. This new method is computationally tractable at very large sample sizes, and leverages genome-wide information. Our results include a large enrichment of heritability in conserved regions across many traits; a very large immunological disease-specific enrichment of heritability in FANTOM5 enhancers; and many cell-type-specific enrichments including significant enrichment of central nervous system cell types in body mass index, age at menarche, educational attainment, and smoking behavior. These results demonstrate that GWAS can aid in understanding the biological basis of disease and provide direction for functional follow-up.

Related Concepts

Biological Markers
Genome
Immune System Diseases
Analysis
Body Mass Index
Activated Lymphocyte
Follow-up
Genome-Wide Association Study

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