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Author (up) Gao, B.; Yang, C.; Liu, J.; Zhou, X. openurl 
  Title Accurate genetic and environmental covariance estimation with composite likelihood in genome-wide association studies Type Journal Article
  Year 2021 Publication Abbreviated Journal PLoS genetics  
  Volume 17 Issue 1 Pages e1009293  
  Keywords  
  Abstract Genetic and environmental covariances between pairs of complex traits are important quantitative measurements that characterize their shared genetic and environmental architectures. Accurate estimation of genetic and environmental covariances in genome-wide association studies (GWASs) can help us identify common genetic and environmental factors associated with both traits and facilitate the investigation of their causal relationship. Genetic and environmental covariances are often modeled through multivariate linear mixed models. Existing algorithms for covariance estimation include the traditional restricted maximum likelihood (REML) method and the recent method of moments (MoM). Compared to REML, MoM approaches are computationally efficient and require only GWAS summary statistics. However, MoM approaches can be statistically inefficient, often yielding inaccurate covariance estimates. In addition, existing MoM approaches have so far focused on estimating genetic covariance and have largely ignored environmental covariance estimation. Here we introduce a new computational method, GECKO, for estimating both genetic and environmental covariances, that improves the estimation accuracy of MoM while keeping computation in check. GECKO is based on composite likelihood, relies on only summary statistics for scalable computation, provides accurate genetic and environmental covariance estimates across a range of scenarios, and can accommodate SNP annotation stratified covariance estimation. We illustrate the benefits of GECKO through simulations and applications on analyzing 22 traits from five large-scale GWASs. In the real data applications, GECKO identified 50 significant genetic covariances among analyzed trait pairs, resulting in a twofold power gain compared to the previous MoM method LDSC. In addition, GECKO identified 20 significant environmental covariances. The ability of GECKO to estimate environmental covariance in addition to genetic covariance helps us reveal strong positive correlation between the genetic and environmental covariance estimates across trait pairs, suggesting that common pathways may underlie the shared genetic and environmental architectures between traits.  
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  ISSN 1553-7404 ISBN Medium  
  Area Expedition Conference  
  Notes Approved no  
  Call Number AG @ matthewjvarga @ Serial 47114  
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