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Selecting instruments for Mendelian randomization in the wake of genome-wide association studies

Swerdlow, DI; Kuchenbaecker, KB; Shah, S; Sofat, R; Holmes, MV; White, J; Mindell, JS; ... Hingorani, AD; + view all (2016) Selecting instruments for Mendelian randomization in the wake of genome-wide association studies. International Journal of Epidemiology , 45 (5) pp. 1600-1616. 10.1093/ije/dyw088. Green open access

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Abstract

Mendelian randomization (MR) studies typically assess the pathogenic relevance of environmental exposures or disease biomarkers, using genetic variants that instrument these exposures. The approach is gaining popularity-our systematic review reveals a greater than 10-fold increase in MR studies published between 2004 and 2015. When the MR paradigm was first proposed, few biomarker- or exposure-related genetic variants were known, most having been identified by candidate gene studies. However, genome-wide association studies (GWAS) are now providing a rich source of potential instruments for MR analysis. Many early reviews covering the concept, applications and analytical aspects of the MR technique preceded the surge in GWAS, and thus the question of how best to select instruments for MR studies from the now extensive pool of available variants has received insufficient attention. Here we focus on the most common category of MR studies-those concerning disease biomarkers. We consider how the selection of instruments for MR analysis from GWAS requires consideration of: the assumptions underlying the MR approach; the biology of the biomarker; the genome-wide distribution, frequency and effect size of biomarker-associated variants (the genetic architecture); and the specificity of the genetic associations. Based on this, we develop guidance that may help investigators to plan and readers interpret MR studies.

Type: Article
Title: Selecting instruments for Mendelian randomization in the wake of genome-wide association studies
Location: England
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1093/ije/dyw088
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/ije/dyw088
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © The Author 2016. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the International Epidemiological Association. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted reuse, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Keywords: Mendelian randomization, biomarkers, causal inference, genome-wide association study
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Division of Psychiatry
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute of Cardiovascular Science
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute of Epidemiology and Health
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute of Epidemiology and Health > Epidemiology and Public Health
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute of Health Informatics
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute of Health Informatics > Clinical Epidemiology
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1505033
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