Blocks and Haplotypes

Blocks and Haplotypes

Haploview generates blocks whenever a file is opened, but these blocks can be edited and redefined in a number of ways. In the Analysis menu, you can clear all the blocks in order to start over, define blocks based on one of several automated methods or customize the parameters of those algorithms. Additionally, the blocks can be edited by hand.

Confidence Intervals [DEFAULT]

The default algorithm is taken from Gabriel et al, Science, 2002. 95% confidence bounds on D prime are generated and each comparison is called "strong LD", "inconclusive" or "strong recombination". A block is created if 95% of informative (i.e. non-inconclusive) comparisons are "strong LD". This method by default ignores markers with MAF < 0.05. The MAF cutoff and the confidence bound cutoffs can be edited by choosing "Customize Block Definitions" (Analysis menu). This definition allows for many overlapping blocks to be valid. The default behavior is to sort the list of all possible blocks and start with the largest and keep adding blocks as long as they don't overlap with an already declared block.

Four Gamete Rule

This is a variant on the algorithm described in Wang et al, Am. J. Hum. Genet., 2002. For each marker pair, the population frequencies of the 4 possible two-marker haplotypes are computed. If all 4 are observed with at least frequency 0.01, a recombination is deemed to have taken place. Blocks are formed by consecutive markers where only 3 gametes are observed. The 1% cutoff can be edited to make the definition more or less stringent.

Solid Spine of LD

This internally developed method searches for a "spine" of strong LD running from one marker to another along the legs of the triangle in the LD chart (this would mean that the first and last markers in a block are in strong LD with all intermediate markers but that the intermediate markers are not necessarily in LD with each other).

Markers can be removed from blocks by clicking on the marker number (along the top of the D prime graph). Blocks can be defined by hand by clicking and dragging along the marker number row. Any block which overlaps with an existing block will take precedence and delete the existing block.


View haplotypes for selected blocks by clicking on the "Haplotypes" tab or selecting "Haplotypes" from the Display menu. Haplotypes are estimated using an accelerated EM algorithm similar to the partition/ligation method described in Qin et al, 2002, Am J Hum Genet. This creates highly accurate population frequency estimates of the phased haplotypes based on the maximum likelihood as determined from the unphased input.

The haplotype display shows each haplotype in a block with its population frequency and connections from one block to the next. In the crossing areas, a value of multiallelic D' is shown. This represents the level of recombination between the two blocks. Note that the value of multiallelic D' is computed for only the haplotypes ("alleles") currently displayed. This usually does not have a strong effect, as the rare haplotypes contribute only slightly to the overall value. Above the haplotypes are marker numbers along with a tick beneath haplotype tag SNPs (htSNPs).

Display Controls

The display can be edited using the controls at the bottom of the screen to display only more common haplotypes or to adjust the connecting lines. By default, alleles are displayed using A,C,G,T along with the special symbol 'X' which represents a fairly rare situation in which only one allele is unambiguously observed in phased data. The 'X' represents the allele of unknown identity. The display can also be changed to show the alleles numerically from 1-4 with 8 being the equivalent of 'X', or as blue and red boxes, with blue being the major allele and red the minor.

Tag SNPs

Haplotype tag SNPs are no longer displayed by default in the Haplotypes tab. It is recommended that all tagging be one via the Tagger tab. The block-by-block tags can be displayed by ticking the "Show tags in blocks" option in the Display menu.