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Fast Signal Region Detection with Application to Whole Genome Association Studies

Wei ZhangFan WangFang Yao
Feb 2024
Research on the localization of the genetic basis associated with diseases or traits has been widely conducted in the last a few decades. Scan methods have been developed for region-based analysis in whole-genome association studies, helping us better understand how genetics influences human diseases or traits, especially when the aggregated effects of multiple causal variants are present. In this paper, we propose a fast and effective algorithm coupling with high-dimensional test for simultaneously detecting multiple signal regions, which is distinct from existing methods using scan or knockoff statistics. The idea is to conduct binary splitting with re-search and arrangement based on a sequence of dynamic critical values to increase detection accuracy and reduce computation. Theoretical and empirical studies demonstrate that our approach enjoys favorable theoretical guarantees with fewer restrictions and exhibits superior numerical performance with faster computation. Utilizing the UK Biobank data to identify the genetic regions related to breast cancer, we confirm previous findings and meanwhile, identify a number of new regions which suggest strong association with risk of breast cancer and deserve further investigation.
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