Background: Advances in experimental biology have enabled the collection of enormous troves of data on genomic variation in living organisms. The interpretation of this data to extract actionable information is one of the keys to developing novel therapeutic strategies to treat complex diseases. Network organization of biological data overcomes measurement noise in several biological contexts. Does a network approach, combining information about the linear organization of genomic markers with correlative information on these markers in a Bayesian formulation, lead to an analytic method with higher power for detecting quantitative trait loci Results: Block Network Mapping, combining Similarity Network Fusion (Wang et al., NM 11:333-337, 2014) with a Bayesian locus likelihood evaluation, leads to large improvements in area under the receiver operating characteristic and power over interval mapping with expectation maximization. The method has a monotonically decreasing false discovery rate as a function of effect size, unlike interval mapping. Conclusions: Block Network Mapping provides an alternative data-driven approach to mapping quantitative trait loci that leverages correlations in the sampled genotypes. The evaluation methodology can be combined with existing approaches such as Interval Mapping. Python scripts are available at http://lbm.niddk.nih.gov/vipulp/. Genotype data is available at http://churchill-lab.jax.org/website/GattiDOQTL.
Shreif, Z. Z., Gatti, D. M., & Periwal, V. (2016). Block network mapping approach to quantitative trait locus analysis. BMC Bioinformatics, 17(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12859-016-1351-8