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||Advantage of using allele-specific copy numbers when testing for association in regions with common copy number variants.
||Marenne G, Chanock SJ, Malats N, GÃ©nin E
||Copy number variants (CNV) can be called from SNP-arrays; however, few studies have attempted to combine both CNV and SNP calls to test for association with complex diseases. Even when SNPs are located within CNVs, two separate association analyses are necessary, to compare the distribution of bi-allelic genotypes in cases and controls (referred to as SNP-only strategy) and the number of copies of a region (referred to as CNV-only strategy). However, when disease susceptibility is actually associated with allele specific copy-number states, the two strategies may not yield comparable results, raising a series of questions about the optimal analytical approach. We performed simulations of the performance of association testing under different scenarios that varied genotype frequencies and inheritance models. We show that the SNP-only strategy lacks power under most scenarios when the SNP is located within a CNV; frequently it is excluded from analysis as it does not pass quality control metrics either because of an increased rate of missing calls or a departure from fitness for Hardy-Weinberg proportion. The CNV-only strategy also lacks power because the association testing depends on the allele which copy number varies. The combined strategy performs well in most of the scenarios. Hence, we advocate the use of this combined strategy when testing for association with SNPs located within CNVs.