An alternative approach to multiple testing for methylation QTL mapping reduces the proportion of falsely identified CpGs

René Luijk, Jelle J. Goeman, Eline P. Slagboom, Bastiaan T. Heijmans, Erik W. van Zwet
2014 Computer applications in the biosciences : CABIOS  
An increasing number of studies investigates the influence of local genetic variation on DNA methylation levels, so-called in cis methylation quantitative trait loci (meQTLs). A common multiple testing approach in genome-wide cis meQTL studies limits the false discovery rate (FDR) among all CpG-SNP pairs to 0.05 and reports on CpGs from the significant CpG-SNP pairs. However, a statistical test for each CpG is not performed, potentially increasing the proportion of CpGs falsely reported on.
more » ... , we presented an alternative approach that properly control for multiple testing at the CpG level. Results: We performed cis meQTL mapping for varying window sizes using publicly available single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) and 450 kb data, extracting the CpGs from the significant CpG-SNP pairs (FDR50:05). Using a new bait-and-switch simulation approach, we show that up to 50% of the CpGs found in the simulated data may be false-positive results. We present an alternative two-step multiple testing approach using the Simes and Benjamini-Hochberg procedures that does control the FDR among the CpGs, as confirmed by the bait-and-switch simulation. This approach indicates the use of window sizes in cis meQTL mapping studies that are significantly smaller than commonly adopted.
doi:10.1093/bioinformatics/btu654 pmid:25282645 fatcat:isam7v4pavd3vipm2axydljbkq