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Lamina, Claudia; Bongardt, Friedhelm; Küchenhoff, Helmut; Heid, Iris M. (2008): Haplotype reconstruction error as a classical misclassification problem. Introducing sensitivity and specificity as error measures.
In: PloS one 3(3), e1853




Statistically reconstructing haplotypes from single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) genotypes, can lead to falsely classified haplotypes. This can be an issue when interpreting haplotype association results or when selecting subjects with certain haplotypes for subsequent functional studies. It was our aim to quantify haplotype reconstruction error and to provide tools for it. By numerous simulation scenarios, we systematically investigated several error measures, including discrepancy, error rate, and R(2), and introduced the sensitivity and specificity to this context. We exemplified several measures in the KORA study, a large population-based study from Southern Germany. We find that the specificity is slightly reduced only for common haplotypes, while the sensitivity was decreased for some, but not all rare haplotypes. The overall error rate was generally increasing with increasing number of loci, increasing minor allele frequency of SNPs, decreasing correlation between the alleles and increasing ambiguity. We conclude that, with the analytical approach presented here, haplotype-specific error measures can be computed to gain insight into the haplotype uncertainty. This method provides the information, if a specific risk haplotype can be expected to be reconstructed with rather no or high misclassification and thus on the magnitude of expected bias in association estimates. We also illustrate that sensitivity and specificity separate two dimensions of the haplotype reconstruction error, which completely describe the misclassification matrix and thus provide the prerequisite for methods accounting for misclassification.