A general model for detecting genetic determinants underlying longitudinal traits with unequally spaced measurements and nonstationary covariance structure

Wei Hou, Cynthia W. Garvan, Wei Zhao, Marylou Behnke, Fonda Davis Eyler, Rongling Wu

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11 Scopus citations


A mixture model for determining quantitative trait loci (QTL) affecting growth trajectories has been proposed in the literature. In this article, we extend this model to a more general situation in which longitudinal traits for each subject are measured at unequally spaced time intervals, different subjects have different measurement patterns, and the residual correlation within subjects is nonstationary. We derive an EM-simplex hybrid algorithm to estimate the allele frequencies, Hardy-Weinberg disequilibrium, and linkage disequilibrium between QTL in the original population and parameters contained in the growth equation and in the covariance structure. A worked example of head circumference growth in 145 children is used to validate our extended model. A simulation study is performed to examine the statistical properties of the parameter estimation obtained from this example. Finally, we discuss the implications and extensions of our model for detecting QTL that affect growth trajectories.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)420-433
Number of pages14
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jul 1 2005


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Statistics and Probability
  • Statistics, Probability and Uncertainty

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