Classification of missense mutations of disease genes

Xi Zhou, Edwin S. Iversen, Giovanni Parmigiani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Clinical management of individuals found to harbor a mutation at a known disease-susceptibility gene depends on accurate assessment of mutation-specific disease risk. For missense mutations (MMs) - mutations that lead to a single amino acid change in the protein coded by the gene - this poses a particularly challenging problem. Because it is not possible to predict the structural and functional changes to the protein product for a given amino acid substitution, and because functional assays are often not available, disease association must be inferred from data on individuals with the mutation. Inference is complicated by small sample sizes and by sampling mechanisms that bias toward individuals at high familial risk of disease. We propose a Bayesian hierarchical model to classify the disease association of MMs given pedigree data collected in the high-risk setting. The model's structure allows simultaneous characterization of multiple MMs. It uses a group of pedigrees identified through probands tested positive for known disease associated mutations and a group of test-negative pedigrees, both obtained from the same clinic, to calibrate classification and control for potential ascertainment bias. We apply this model to study MMs of breast-ovarian susceptibility genes BRCA1 and BRCA2, using data collected at the Duke University Medical Center in Durham, North Carolina.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)51-60
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of the American Statistical Association
Issue number469
StatePublished - Mar 2005


  • Bayesian analysis
  • Classification
  • Family data
  • Gene characterization
  • Pedigree analysis
  • Penetrance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Mathematics(all)
  • Statistics and Probability


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