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See detailGenome-wide environmental interaction analysis using multidimensional data reduction principles to identify asthma pharmacogenetic loci in relation to corticosteroid therapy
Van Lishout, François ULg; Bessonov, Kyrylo ULg; Duan, Quingling et al

Poster (2013, October 25)

Genome-wide gene-environment (GxE) and gene-gene (GxG) interaction studies share a lot of challenges via the common genetic component they involve. GWEI studies may therefore benefit from the abundance of ... [more ▼]

Genome-wide gene-environment (GxE) and gene-gene (GxG) interaction studies share a lot of challenges via the common genetic component they involve. GWEI studies may therefore benefit from the abundance of methodologies that are available in the context of genome-wide epistasis detection methods. One of these is Model-Based Multifactor Dimensionality Reduction (MB-MDR), which does not make any assumption about the genetic inheritance model. MB-MDR involves reducing a high-dimensional GxE space to GxE factor levels that either exhibit high or low or no evidence for their association to disease outcome. In contrast to logistic regression and random forests, MB-MDR can be used to detect GxE interactions in the absence of any main effects or when sample sizes are too small to be able to model all main and GxE interaction effects. In this ongoing study, we demonstrate the opportunities and challenges of MB-MDR for genome-wide GxE interaction analysis and analyzed the difference in prebronchodilator FEV1 following 8 weeks of inhaled corticosteroid therapy, for 565 pediatric Caucasian CAMP (ages 5-12) from the SHARE project. [less ▲]

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See detailAn efficient algorithm to perform multiple testing in epistasis screening
Van Lishout, François ULg; Mahachie John, Jestinah ULg; Gusareva, Elena ULg et al

in BMC Bioinformatics (2013), 14

Background: Research in epistasis or gene-gene interaction detection for human complex traits has grown over the last few years. It has been marked by promising methodological developments, improved ... [more ▼]

Background: Research in epistasis or gene-gene interaction detection for human complex traits has grown over the last few years. It has been marked by promising methodological developments, improved translation efforts of statistical epistasis to biological epistasis and attempts to integrate different omics information sources into the epistasis screening to enhance power. The quest for gene-gene interactions poses severe multiple-testing problems. In this context, the maxT algorithm is one technique to control the false-positive rate. However, the memory needed by this algorithm rises linearly with the amount of hypothesis tests. Gene-gene interaction studies will require a memory proportional to the squared number of SNPs. A genome-wide epistasis search would therefore require terabytes of memory. Hence, cache problems are likely to occur, increasing the computation time. In this work we present a new version of maxT, requiring an amount of memory independent from the number of genetic effects to be investigated. This algorithm was implemented in C++ in our epistasis screening software MBMDR-3.0.3. We evaluate the new implementation in terms of memory efficiency and speed using simulated data. The software is illustrated on real-life data for Crohn's disease. Results: In the case of a binary (affected/unaffected) trait, the parallel workflow of MBMDR-3.0.3 analyzes all gene-gene interactions with a dataset of 100,000 SNPs typed on 1000 individuals within 4 days and 9 hours, using 999 permutations of the trait to assess statistical significance, on a cluster composed of 10 blades, containing each four Quad-Core AMD Opteron Processor 2352 2.1 GHz. In the case of a continuous trait, a similar run takes 9 days. Our program found 14 SNP-SNP interactions with a multiple-testing corrected p-value of less than 0.05 on real-life Crohn's disease data. Conclusions: Our software is the first implementation of the MB-MDR methodology able to solve large-scale SNP-SNP interactions problems within a few days, without using much memory, while adequately controlling the type I error rates. A new implementation to reach genome-wide epistasis screening is under construction. In the context of Crohn's disease, MBMDR-3.0.3 could identify epistasis involving regions that are well known in the field and could be explained from a biological point of view. This demonstrates the power of our software to find relevant phenotype-genotype higher-order associations. [less ▲]

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See detailSurvival analysis: finding relevant epistatic SNP pairs using Model- Based Multifactor Dimensionality Reduction
Van Lishout, François ULg; Vens, Céline; Urrea, Victor et al

Conference (2012, December 03)

Analyzing the combined effects of genes (and/or environmental factors) on the development of complex diseases is quite challenging, both from the statistical and computational perspective, even using a ... [more ▼]

Analyzing the combined effects of genes (and/or environmental factors) on the development of complex diseases is quite challenging, both from the statistical and computational perspective, even using a relatively small number of genetic and non-genetic exposures. Several data-mining methods have been proposed for interaction analysis, among them, the Multifactor Dimensionality Reduction Method (MDR). Model-Based Multifactor Dimensionality Reduction (MB-MDR), a relatively new dimensionality reduction technique, is able to unify the best of both nonparametric and parametric worlds, and has proven its utility in a variety of theoretical and practical settings. Until now, MB-MDR software has only accommodated traits that are measured on a binary or interval scale. Time-to-event data could therefore not be analyzed with the MB-MDR methodology. MB-MDR-3.0.0 overcomes this shortcoming of earlier versions. We show the added value of MB-MDR for censored traits by comparing the implemented strategies with more classical methods such as those based on a parametric regression paradigm. The simulation results are supplemented with an application to real-life data. [less ▲]

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See detailLower-Order Effects Adjustment in Quantitative Traits Model-Based Multifactor Dimensionality Reduction
Mahachie John, Jestinah ULg; Cattaert, Tom ULg; Van Lishout, François ULg et al

in PLoS ONE (2012)

Identifying gene-gene interactions or gene-environment interactions in studies of human complex diseases remains a big challenge in genetic epidemiology. An additional challenge, often forgotten, is to ... [more ▼]

Identifying gene-gene interactions or gene-environment interactions in studies of human complex diseases remains a big challenge in genetic epidemiology. An additional challenge, often forgotten, is to account for important lower-order genetic effects. These may hamper the identification of genuine epistasis. If lower-order genetic effects contribute to the genetic variance of a trait, identified statistical interactions may simply be due to a signal boost of these effects. In this study, we restrict attention to quantitative traits and bi-allelic SNPs as genetic markers. Moreover, our interaction study focuses on 2- way SNP-SNP interactions. Via simulations, we assess the performance of different corrective measures for lower-order genetic effects in Model-Based Multifactor Dimensionality Reduction epistasis detection, using additive and co-dominant coding schemes. Performance is evaluated in terms of power and familywise error rate. Our simulations indicate that empirical power estimates are reduced with correction of lower-order effects, likewise familywise error rates. Easy-to-use automatic SNP selection procedures, SNP selection based on ‘‘top’’ findings, or SNP selection based on p-value criterion for interesting main effects result in reduced power but also almost zero false positive rates. Always accounting for main effects in the SNP-SNP pair under investigation during Model-Based Multifactor Dimensionality Reduction analysis adequately controls false positive epistasis findings. This is particularly true when adopting a co-dominant corrective coding scheme. In conclusion, automatic search procedures to identify lower-order effects to correct for during epistasis screening should be avoided. The same is true for procedures that adjust for lower-order effects prior to Model-Based Multifactor Dimensionality Reduction and involve using residuals as the new trait. We advocate using ‘‘on-the-fly’’ lower-order effects adjusting when screening for SNP-SNP interactions using Model-Based Multifactor Dimensionality Reduction analysis. [less ▲]

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See detailAn Efficient Algorithm to Perform Multiple Testing in Epistasis Screening
Van Lishout, François ULg; Cattaert, Tom ULg; Mahachie John, Jestinah ULg et al

Conference (2011, December 13)

Background: Research in epistasis or gene-gene interaction detection for human complex traits has grown exponentially over the last few years. It has been marked by promising methodological developments ... [more ▼]

Background: Research in epistasis or gene-gene interaction detection for human complex traits has grown exponentially over the last few years. It has been marked by promising methodological developments, improved translation efforts of statistical epistasis to biological epistasis and attempts to integrate different omics information sources into the epistasis screening to enhance power. The quest for gene-gene interactions poses severe multiple-testing problems. In this context, the maxT algorithm is one technique to control the false-positive rate. However, the memory needed by this algorithm rises linearly with the amount of hypothesis tests. In main-effects detection, this is not a problem since the memory required is thus proportional to the number of SNPs. In contrast, gene-gene interaction studies will require a memory proportional to the squared amount of SNPs. A genome wide epistasis would therefore require terabytes of memory. Hence, cache problems are likely to occur, increasing the computation time. Methods: In this work we present a new version of maxT, requiring an amount of memory independent from the number of genetic effects to be investigated. This algorithm was implemented in C++ in our epistasis screening software MB-MDR-2.6.2 and compared to MB-MDR's first implementation as an R-package (Calle et al., Bioinformatics 2010). We evaluate the new implementation in terms of memory efficiency and speed using simulated data. The software is illustrated on real-life data for Crohn's disease. Results: The sequential version of MBMDR-2.6.2 is approximately 5,500 times faster than its R counterparts. The parallel version (tested on a cluster composed of 14 blades, containing each 4 quad-cores Intel Xeon CPU E5520@2.27 GHz) is approximately 900,000 times faster than the latter, for results of the same quality on the simulated data. It analyses all gene-gene interactions of a dataset of 100,000 SNPs typed on 1000 individuals within 4 days. Our program found 14 SNP-SNP interactions with a p-value less than 0.05 on the real-life Crohn’s disease data. Conclusions: Our software is able to solve large-scale SNP-SNP interactions problems within a few days, without using much memory. A new implementation to reach genome wide epistasis screening is under construction. In the context of Crohn's disease, MBMDR-2.6.2 found signal in regions well known in the field and our results could be explained from a biological point of view. This demonstrates the power of our software to find relevant phenotype-genotype associations. [less ▲]

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See detailComparison of genetic association strategies in the presence of rare alleles
Mahachie John, Jestinah ULg; Cattaert, Tom ULg; De Lobel, Lizzy et al

in BMC Proceedings (2011)

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See detailA robustness study to investigate the performance of parametric and non-parametric tests used in Model-Based Multifactor Dimensionality Reduction Epistasis Detection.
Mahachie John, Jestinah ULg; Gusareva, Elena ULg; Van Lishout, François ULg et al

Poster (2011, September 19)

Model-Based Multifactor Dimensionality Reduction (MB-MDR) is data mining technique to identify gene-gene interactions among 1000nds of SNPs in a fast way, without making assumptions about the mode of ... [more ▼]

Model-Based Multifactor Dimensionality Reduction (MB-MDR) is data mining technique to identify gene-gene interactions among 1000nds of SNPs in a fast way, without making assumptions about the mode of genetic interactions. By construction, one of the implementations of MB-MDR involves testing one multi-locus genotype cell versus the remaining cells, hereby creating two imbalanced groups for trait distribution comparison. To date, for continuous traits, we have adopted a standard F-test to compare these groups. When normality assumption or homoscedasticity no longer hold, highly inflated results are to be expected. The power and type I error control of MB-MDR under these assumptions has been thoroughly investigated in Mahachie John et al [1]. The aim of this study is to assess, through simulations, the effects of ANOVA model violations on the performance of Model-Based Multifactor Dimensionality Reduction (MB-MDR). We quantify their effect on MB-MDR using default options, but at the same time introduce alternative options with increased performance. The better handling of imbalanced data using robust approaches [2] within a MB-MDR context is exemplified on real data for asthma-related phenotypes. 1. EJHG (2011), Early view 2. David Freedman, Statistical Models: Theory and Practice, Cambridge University Press (2000), ISBN 978-0521671057 [less ▲]

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See detailModel-Based Multifactor Dimensionality Reduction for detecting epistasis in case-control data in the presence of noise
Cattaert, Tom ULg; Calle, Luz M; Dudek, Scott T et al

in Annals of Human Genetics (2011), 75(1), 78-89

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See detailModel-Based Multifactor Dimensionality Reduction to detect epistasis for quantitative traits in the presence of error-free and noisy data.
Mahachie John, Jestinah ULg; Van Lishout, François ULg; Van Steen, Kristel ULg

in European Journal of Human Genetics (2011), 19

Detecting gene-gene interactions or epistasis in studies of human complex diseases is a big challenge in the area of epidemiology. To address this problem, several methods have been developed, mainly in ... [more ▼]

Detecting gene-gene interactions or epistasis in studies of human complex diseases is a big challenge in the area of epidemiology. To address this problem, several methods have been developed, mainly in the context of data dimensionality reduction. One of these methods, Model-Based Multifactor Dimensionality Reduction, has so far mainly been applied to case-control studies. In this study, we evaluate the power of Model-Based Multifactor Dimensionality Reduction for quantitative traits to detect gene-gene interactions (epistasis) in the presence of error-free and noisy data. Considered sources of error are genotyping errors, missing genotypes, phenotypic mixtures and genetic heterogeneity. Our simulation study encompasses a variety of settings with varying minor allele frequencies and genetic variance for different epistasis models. On each simulated data, we have performed Model-Based Multifactor Dimensionality Reduction in two ways: with and without adjustment for main effects of (known) functional SNPs. In line with binary trait counterparts, our simulations show that the power is lowest in the presence of phenotypic mixtures or genetic heterogeneity compared to scenarios with missing genotypes or genotyping errors. In addition, empirical power estimates reduce even further with main effects corrections, but at the same time, false-positive percentages are reduced as well. In conclusion, phenotypic mixtures and genetic heterogeneity remain challenging for epistasis detection, and careful thought must be given to the way important lower-order effects are accounted for in the analysis.European Journal of Human Genetics advance online publication, 16 March 2011; doi:10.1038/ejhg.2011.17. [less ▲]

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See detailMonte-Carlo Tree Search in Backgammon
Van Lishout, François ULg; Chaslot, Guillaume; Uiterwijk, Jos W.H.M.

(2007)

Monte-Carlo Tree Search is a new method which has been applied successfully to many games. However, it has never been tested on two-player perfect-information games with a chance factor. Backgam- mon is ... [more ▼]

Monte-Carlo Tree Search is a new method which has been applied successfully to many games. However, it has never been tested on two-player perfect-information games with a chance factor. Backgam- mon is the reference game of this category. Today’s best Backgammon programs are based on reinforcement learning and are stronger than the best human players. These programs have played millions of offline games to learn to evaluate a position. Our approach consists rather in playing online simulated games to learn how to play correctly in the current position. [less ▲]

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See detailSingle-player games: introduction to a new solving method
Van Lishout, François ULg

Master of advanced studies dissertation (2006)

In many games, the machine has become stronger than the best human players. Machines have already beaten the human World Champion in famous games like Checkers, Chess, Scrabble and Othello. However ... [more ▼]

In many games, the machine has become stronger than the best human players. Machines have already beaten the human World Champion in famous games like Checkers, Chess, Scrabble and Othello. However, mankind has not been humbled by chips in all games. The best human players are still stronger than computers in games like Go, Poker, Chinese Chess and Hex. In this thesis, we will focus on a new way to model single-player games in order to improve the performances of the machine. We will demonstrate this technique on the game of Sokoban. [less ▲]

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