Living in a post-linkage world, craving knowledge

Genomics meets linkage. This blog post is about family studies in epilepsy genetics. One of my tasks for the next two months is to write the “Trilateral Grant” – we were invited to submit a full proposal for a German-Israeli-Palestinian grant by the German Research Foundation (DFG) on the genetics of familial epilepsies. As keeping up our blogging schedule will be my other big task for the coming months, I thought that I could combine both and explore some topics regarding family studies on this blog. Let’s start with a sobering fact – small dominant families remain difficult to solve, not because of too little but rather too much genetic data. Continue reading

Validation of rare variants – the power of finding anything at all

How much? Last week, we discussed the probability of finding de novo variants in patients with epileptic encephalopathies, but our calculations were only half the story. Genes that are identified through genome-wide sequencing technologies are often validated in additional cohorts. In many cases, we will only be able to establish a given gene as causative if we find another patient with a mutation in this gene. I was therefore asked to write an additional post on power calculations for rare variants in validation cohorts. Let me tell you the story how I stumbled across a little bit of almost forgotten high school math. Continue reading