EPS-LASSO: test for high-dimensional regression under extreme phenotype sampling of continuous traits

Motivation: Extreme phenotype sampling (EPS) is a broadly-used design to identify candidate genetic factors contributing to the variation of quantitative traits. By enriching the signals in extreme phenotypic samples, EPS can boost the association power compared to random sampling. Most existing statistical methods for EPS examine the genetic factors individually, despite many quantitative traits have multiple genetic factors underlying their variation. It is desirable to model the joint effects of genetic factors, which may increase the power and identify novel quantitative trait loci under EPS. The joint analysis of genetic data in high-dimensional situations requires specialized techniques, e.g. the least absolute shrinkage and selection operator (LASSO). Although there are extensive research and application related to LASSO, the statistical inference and testing for the sparse model under EPS remain unknown. Results: We propose a novel sparse model (EPS-LASSO) with hypothesis test for high-dimensional regression under EPS based on a decorrelated score function. The comprehensive simulation shows EPS-LASSO outperforms existing methods with stable type I error and FDR control. EPS-LASSO can provide a consistent power for both low- and high-dimensional situations compared with the other methods dealing with high-dimensional situations. The power of EPS-LASSO is close to other low-dimensional methods when the causal effect sizes are small and is superior when the effects are large. Applying EPS-LASSO to a transcriptome-wide gene expression study for obesity reveals 10 significant body mass index associated genes. Our results indicate that EPS-LASSO is an effective method for EPS data analysis, which can account for correlated predictors. Availability and implementation: The source code is available at https://github.com/xu1912/EPSLASSO. Supplementary information: Supplementary data are available at Bioinformatics online.
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