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Testing separate families of segregation hypotheses: bootstrap methods.

Publication Date
  • Research Article
  • Computer Science
  • Mathematics
  • Medicine


Aspects of the statistical modeling and assessment of hypotheses concerning quantitative traits in genetics research are discussed. It is suggested that a traditional approach to such modeling and hypothesis testing, whereby competing models are "nested" in an effort to simplify their probabilistic assessment, can be complimented by an alternative statistical paradigm - the separate-families-of-hypotheses approach to segregation analysis. Two bootstrap-based methods are described that allow testing of any two, possibly non-nested, parametric genetic hypotheses. These procedures utilize a strategy in which the unknown distribution of a likelihood ratio-based test statistic is simulated, thereby allowing the estimation of critical values for the test statistic. Though the focus of this paper concerns quantitative traits, the strategies described can be applied to qualitative traits as well. The conceptual advantages and computational ease of these strategies are discussed, and their significance levels and power are examined through Monte Carlo experimentation. It is concluded that the separate-families-of-hypotheses approach, when carried out with the methods described in this paper, not only possesses some favorable statistical properties but also is well suited for genetic segregation analysis.

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