Search for faster methods of fitting the regressive models to quantitative traits

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The regressive models describe familial patterns of dependence of quantitative measures by specifying regression relationships among a person's phenotype and genotype and the phenotypes and genotypes of antecedents. When the number of sibs in the pattern of dependence increases, as in the class D regressive model, computation of the likelihood becomes time consuming, since the Elston‐Stewart algorithm cannot be used generally. On the other hand, the simpler class A regressive model, which imposes a restriction on the sib‐sib correlation, may lead to inference of a spurious major gene, as already observed in some instances. A simulation study is performed to explore the robustness of class A model with respect to false inference of a major gene and to search for faster methods of computing the likelihood under class D model. The class A model is not robust against the presence of a sib‐sib correlation exceeding that specified by the model, unless tests on transmission probabilities are performed carefully: false detection of a major gene is reduced from a number of 26–30 to between 0 and 4 data sets out of 30 replicates after testing both the Mendelian transmission and the absence of transmission of a major effect against the general transmission model. Among various approximations of the likelihood formulation of the class D model, approximations 6 and 8 are found to work appropriately in terms of both the estimation of all parameters and hypothesis testing, for each generating model. These approximations lessen the computer time by allowing use of the Elston‐Stewart algorithm. Copyright © 1990 Wiley‐Liss, Inc., A Wiley Company

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