Work on improving fine mapping by borrowing information from related diseases now published.


Thousands of genetic variants are associated with human disease risk, but linkage disequilibrium (LD) hinders fine-mapping the causal variants. Both lack of power, and joint tagging of two or more distinct causal variants by a single non-causal SNP, lead to inaccuracies in fine-mapping, with stochastic search more robust than stepwise. We develop a computationally efficient multinomial fine-mapping (MFM) approach that borrows information between diseases in a Bayesian framework. We show that MFM has greater accuracy than single disease analysis when shared causal variants exist, and negligible loss of precision otherwise. MFM analysis of six immune-mediated diseases reveals causal variants undetected in individual disease analysis, including in IL2RA where we confirm functional effects of multiple causal variants using allele-specific expression in sorted CD4+ T cells from genotype-selected individuals. MFM has the potential to increase fine-mapping resolution in related diseases enabling the identification of associated cellular and molecular phenotypes.

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