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Hardy-Weinberg Equilibrium and the Ternary Plot
Graffelman, Jan
Daunis i Estadella, Josep; Martín Fernández, Josep Antoni; Universitat de Girona. Departament d’Informàtica i Matemàtica Aplicada
The Hardy-Weinberg law, formulated about 100 years ago, states that under certainassumptions, the three genotypes AA, AB and BB at a bi-allelic locus are expected to occur inthe proportions p2, 2pq, and q2 respectively, where p is the allele frequency of A, and q = 1-p.There are many statistical tests being used to check whether empirical marker data obeys theHardy-Weinberg principle. Among these are the classical xi-square test (with or withoutcontinuity correction), the likelihood ratio test, Fisher's Exact test, and exact tests in combinationwith Monte Carlo and Markov Chain algorithms. Tests for Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium (HWE)are numerical in nature, requiring the computation of a test statistic and a p-value.There is however, ample space for the use of graphics in HWE tests, in particular for the ternaryplot. Nowadays, many genetical studies are using genetical markers known as SingleNucleotide Polymorphisms (SNPs). SNP data comes in the form of counts, but from the countsone typically computes genotype frequencies and allele frequencies. These frequencies satisfythe unit-sum constraint, and their analysis therefore falls within the realm of compositional dataanalysis (Aitchison, 1986). SNPs are usually bi-allelic, which implies that the genotypefrequencies can be adequately represented in a ternary plot. Compositions that are in exactHWE describe a parabola in the ternary plot. Compositions for which HWE cannot be rejected ina statistical test are typically “close" to the parabola, whereas compositions that differsignificantly from HWE are “far". By rewriting the statistics used to test for HWE in terms ofheterozygote frequencies, acceptance regions for HWE can be obtained that can be depicted inthe ternary plot. This way, compositions can be tested for HWE purely on the basis of theirposition in the ternary plot (Graffelman & Morales, 2008). This leads to nice graphicalrepresentations where large numbers of SNPs can be tested for HWE in a single graph. Severalexamples of graphical tests for HWE (implemented in R software), will be shown, using SNPdata from different human populations
Geologische Vereinigung; Institut d’Estadística de Catalunya; International Association for Mathematical Geology; Càtedra Lluís Santaló d’Aplicacions de la Matemàtica; Generalitat de Catalunya, Departament d’Innovació, Universitats i Recerca; Ministerio de Educación y Ciencia; Ingenio 2010.
Genètica -- Legislació
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Universitat de Girona. Departament d’Informàtica i Matemàtica Aplicada

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