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Bioinformatics (Oxford, England) DOI:10.1093/bioinformatics/btu416

Fast and accurate imputation of summary statistics enhances evidence of functional enrichment.

Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2014
AuthorsPasaniuc, B, Zaitlen, N, Shi, H, Bhatia, G, Gusev, A, Pickrell, J, Hirschhorn, J, Strachan, DP, Patterson, N, Price, AL
JournalBioinformatics (Oxford, England)
Date Published2014/07/01

Imputation using external reference panels (e.g. 1000 Genomes) is a widely used approach for increasing power in GWAS and meta-analysis. Existing HMM-based imputation approaches require individual-level genotypes. Here, we develop a new method for Gaussian imputation from summary association statistics, a type of data that is becoming widely available. Results: In simulations using 1000 Genomes (1000G) data, this method recovers 84% (54%) of the effective sample size for common (>5%) and low-frequency (1-5%) variants (increasing to 87% (60%) when summary LD information is available from target samples) versus the gold standard of 89% (67%) for HMM-based imputation, which cannot be applied to summary statistics. Our approach accounts for the limited sample size of the reference panel, a crucial step to eliminate false-positive associations, and is computationally very fast. As an empirical demonstration, we apply our method to 7 case-control phenotypes from the WTCCC data and a study of height in the British 1958 birth cohort (1958BC). Gaussian imputation from summary statistics recovers 95% (105%) of the effective sample size (as quantified by the ratio of χ(2) association statistics) compared to HMM-based imputation from individual-level genotypes at the 227 (176) published SNPs in the WTCCC (1958BC height) data. In addition, for publicly available summary statistics from large meta-analyses of 4 lipid traits, we publicly release imputed summary statistics at 1000G SNPs, which could not have been obtained using previously published methods, and demonstrate their accuracy by masking subsets of the data. We show that 1000G imputation using our approach increases the magnitude and statistical evidence of enrichment at genic vs. non-genic loci for these traits, as compared to an analysis without 1000G imputation. Thus, imputation of summary statistics will be a valuable tool in future functional enrichment analyses. Publicly available software package available at