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Stochastic model search with binary outcomes for genome-wide association studies.
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PMID:  22534080     Owner:  NLM     Status:  Publisher    
ObjectiveThe spread of case-control genome-wide association studies (GWASs) has stimulated the development of new variable selection methods and predictive models. We introduce a novel Bayesian model search algorithm, Binary Outcome Stochastic Search (BOSS), which addresses the model selection problem when the number of predictors far exceeds the number of binary responses.Materials and methodsOur method is based on a latent variable model that links the observed outcomes to the underlying genetic variables. A Markov Chain Monte Carlo approach is used for model search and to evaluate the posterior probability of each predictor.ResultsBOSS is compared with three established methods (stepwise regression, logistic lasso, and elastic net) in a simulated benchmark. Two real case studies are also investigated: a GWAS on the genetic bases of longevity, and the type 2 diabetes study from the Wellcome Trust Case Control Consortium. Simulations show that BOSS achieves higher precisions than the reference methods while preserving good recall rates. In both experimental studies, BOSS successfully detects genetic polymorphisms previously reported to be associated with the analyzed phenotypes.DiscussionBOSS outperforms the other methods in terms of F-measure on simulated data. In the two real studies, BOSS successfully detects biologically relevant features, some of which are missed by univariate analysis and the three reference techniques.ConclusionThe proposed algorithm is an advance in the methodology for model selection with a large number of features. Our simulated and experimental results showed that BOSS proves effective in detecting relevant markers while providing a parsimonious model.
Alberto Russu; Alberto Malovini; Annibale A Puca; Riccardo Bellazzi
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Type:  JOURNAL ARTICLE     Date:  2012-4-25
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Title:  Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association : JAMIA     Volume:  -     ISSN:  1527-974X     ISO Abbreviation:  -     Publication Date:  2012 Apr 
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Department of Industrial and Information Engineering, University of Pavia, Pavia, Italy.
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Received Day: 1 Month: 12 Year: 2011
Accepted Day: 29 Month: 3 Year: 2012
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DOI: 10.1136/amiajnl-2011-000741

Stochastic model search with binary outcomes for genome-wide association studies
Alberto Russu1
Alberto Malovini12
Annibale A Puca34
Riccardo Bellazzi1
1Department of Industrial and Information Engineering, University of Pavia, Pavia, Italy
2IRCCS Salvatore Maugeri, Pavia, Italy
3IRCCS Multimedica, Milan, Italy
4Istituto di Tecnologie Biomediche, Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche, Segrate, Milan, Italy
Correspondence: Correspondence to Alberto Russu, Laboratory for Biomedical Informatics ‘Mario Stefanelli’, Department of Industrial and Information Engineering, University of Pavia, Via A. Ferrata, 1, 27100 Pavia, Italy;

Introduction and background

Many of the advances in genome-wide association studies (GWASs) are based on the analysis of case–control data. The goal of such studies is usually to correlate a phenotype, often coded as a binary variable, with genetic markers such as single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs). The outcomes of GWASs are increasingly integrated with next-generation sequencing results for SNP validation and disease marker extraction. Therefore, GWASs are powerful tools for the identification of interesting regions at the genome-wide level for further investigation by high-definition procedures.1

Regrettably, achieving the promising goals mentioned above is hindered by the technical difficulties accompanying GWASs. Recent genotyping technologies allow the extraction of millions of genetic measurements, but the number of subjects is smaller by several orders of magnitude. In the literature, this is known as a ‘p>n’ problem. The key task is to reduce the dimensionality of the problem by identifying the optimal subset of predictors that are informative with respect to the outcome variable. Widely used techniques such as univariate or stepwise regression, are recognized as insufficient to fully address the above issues. Advanced multivariate methods are therefore required in order to determine the biological truth.2–4

Recently, a number of model search algorithms have been proposed, with particular emphasis on sparse linear models based on regularization methods5, 6 and naive-Bayes techniques.7 Furthermore, Bottolo and Richardson designed a new method for Bayesian model selection for linear regression with continuous outcomes.8 Unlike regularization analysis, this method performs a model search by sampling the predictors on the basis of a general and efficient Markov Chain Monte Carlo (MCMC) technique that exploits the conjugacy structure of data and parameters.

In the case of binary outcomes, however, easy analytical tractability is only partially possible, mainly because of the non-linear link between the observed variables and the underlying predictors. Although a detailed Bayesian analysis for binary and categorical responses is available,9 model search techniques for binary data have only been explored in a limited number of cases.10–12


In the present paper, we propose an innovative stochastic model search technique for binary outcomes. The relationship between the observed responses and the available predictors is described by a latent variable model with a probit link,9 rather than resorting to Gaussian approximations.12 Prior distributions are assigned both to the regression coefficients and the model size, therefore allowing the user to specify a prior belief on the model complexity. A computationally efficient Metropolis-Hastings sampling algorithm8 is adopted. Our method extensively explores the model space to identify the important predictors.

Materials and methods
Latent variable model for binary data

Denote with Y the vector of the observed individual binary responses Yi, where i=1…n and n is the number of subjects. The Yi are assumed to be the results of independent Bernoulli trials with success probability πi. Let xi=(xi1, …, xip)T be the covariate vector associated with response Yi, where p is the total number of predictors. Additionally, let β=(β1, …, βp)T be the vector of regression coefficients for the p predictors.

The relationship between observed binary responses and covariates is usually modeled with a link function g, which expresses the dependency of the success probabilities πi on the linear regressor xiTβ. Taking g as the standard normal distribution Φ yields the probit model:

[Formula ID: fd1]
where β, in a Bayesian perspective, can be assigned a multivariate normal prior. Unfortunately, the resulting posterior density of β is not analytically tractable,9 although approximations are available in the literature.

In order to circumvent the above issue and obtain the posterior of β, one can resort to a data augmentation approach as described by Albert and Chib.9 The idea is to introduce n independent latent variables Z=(Z1, …, Zn)T such that each ZiN(xiTβ, 1), letting Yi=0 if Zi≤0 and Yi=1 if Zi>0. Equation 2 summarizes the latent variable model:

[Formula ID: fd2]
where X is the n×p design matrix with i-th row equal to xiT and ɛ is a vector of independent normal errors with zero mean and unit variance.

Of course, if the Zi were known, and if β were assigned a multivariate normal prior, the posterior of β would be obtained through usual Bayesian linear regression results. Although the Zi are actually not known, their distribution conditional on the data Yi is a truncated normal with mean xiTβ and unit variance, the side of truncation depending on the value of Yi. One could therefore resort to Gibbs sampling to iteratively sample Z and β, thus obtaining the required posteriors.

Variable selection

The goal of variable selection is to model the dependency of Y (or equivalently Z) on a subset of the predictors x1, …, xp. However, there is uncertainty about which subset to use. In this work, we follow the approach of Bottolo and Richardson8 and introduce a latent binary vector γ=(γ1, …, γp)T such that γj=0 if βj=0 and γj=1 if βj≠0. The model space is therefore given by the 2p possible combinations of the indicator variables γj. Given γ, the Gaussian linear model in equation 2 can therefore be modified as:

[Formula ID: fd3]
that also accounts for the intercept α. The symbol 1 denotes a column vector of ones. The vector βγ includes only the coefficients corresponding to γj=1. Its length is denoted by pγ. Similarly, the n×pγ matrix Xγ is obtained from X by taking the columns for which γj=1. The columns of the design matrix are assumed to be centered around zero.

The intercept α is assigned a flat prior, f(α)∝1, whereas the prior distribution for βγ is taken as a multivariate normal:

[Formula ID: fd4]

Moreover, the error variance σ2 is equal to 1 by definition.9 The matrix Σγ can be expressed as τI, where τ controls the degree of coefficient shrinkage and I is the identity matrix. Other specifications of the prior covariance matrix in equation 4 are covered by Bottolo and Richardson.8 The prior for the indicator vector γ is defined as in Kohn et al13:

[Formula ID: fd5]
which gives rise to a beta-binomial distribution on the model size pγ. Parameters a and b can be elicited based on prior knowledge on the model size, for example, expected value and variance of pγ.8, 13

In order to obtain γ, observe that, if Z were known, one could write its associated marginal likelihood by integrating out α and βγ:

[Formula ID: fd6]
where the dependence on σ2 has been dropped since it is fixed to 1. The term f(Z | γ, α, βγ) is the multivariate normal density arising from the distribution of ɛ. Note that, up to a normalizing factor, equations 5 and 6 together yield the conditional density f(γ | Z). Also observe that such density does not depend on Y since Z is given. Additionally, observe that, if Z were known, the posterior of βγ would follow from the usual Bayes formula for linear Gaussian regression.

The model specification is completed by defining the full conditional for Z. As stated in the previous paragraph, conditional on Yi and βγ, the densities of Zi are independent truncated normals:

[Formula ID: fd7]
where TN and TN+ denote right- and left-truncated normal densities respectively, and xi,γT is the i-th row of Xγ.

Sampling algorithm: Binary Outcome Stochastic Search (BOSS)

Equations 4–7 allow devising a sampling scheme to obtain the posterior density of the latent binary vector γ, which is the main goal of the model search procedure. Our algorithm is based on an efficient Fast Scan Metropolis-Hastings (FSMH) sampler introduced by Bottolo and Richardson8 and generalized here to account for binary responses.

The key idea of our algorithm is that, if Z is assumed known, the variable selection problem for binary outcomes reduces to one for continuous outcomes. In such a case, efficient algorithms are available to sample from the conditional density of γ.8, 12 As shown by Bottolo and Richardson,8 sampling γ can be achieved through the FSMH sampler using equations 5 and 6. Once a sample of γ is available, a new value of Z is then sampled from its full conditional distribution and the process is iterated.

The sampling scheme, depicted in figure 1, is implemented as follows:

  1. Choose a random initialization for Z (positive or negative according to its corresponding Yi, see equation 7);
  2. Sample γ through the FSMH sampler, using the prior model size in equation 5 and the marginal likelihood of Z in equation 6;
  3. Given Z and γ, sample βγ through the standard Bayesian linear regression. Note that, given Z, such density does not depend on Y;
  4. Given βγ and Y, sample Z from equation 7;
  5. Restart from step 2 until a pre-determined number of iterations is reached.
Experimental data and software implementation

The proposed approach has been applied to a first GWAS on the genetic bases of longevity,14 and a second GWAS aimed at the genetic dissection of the type 2 diabetes (T2D) trait.15 The latter dataset has been provided by the Wellcome Trust Case Control Consortium (WTCCC) after data access approval.

Individual and marker-level data quality control, inbred patients, and genetic outliers removal have been described by Malovini et al14 and the WTCCC.15 A preliminary feature selection has been performed based on the results from univariate Pearson's χ2 tests with 2 degrees of freedom comparing genotype distributions between cases and controls. Only SNPs characterized by complete genotype data, passing the significance threshold (p<0.40 for the longevity dataset and p<0.01 for the T2D dataset) and featuring at least five counts per cell have been retained. Missing values in the T2D dataset were imputed to the modal value for each SNP. The above statistical analyses have been performed with PLINK.16 BOSS was implemented in MATLAB 7.5.0 R2007b17 together with the RANDRAW routine18 to sample from the truncated normal density.

Simulated benchmark

A simulation study was performed to assess the performances of BOSS, stepwise regression (stepwisefit function in MATLAB17), and two state-of-the-art methods, logistic lasso and elastic net11 (package glmnet in R V.2.13.119). Our benchmark featured simulated scenarios of varying complexity, according to the following characteristics of the design matrix X:

  • Uncorrelated or correlated columns (pairwise correlation of 0.5);
  • Percentage of explained variance (ie, proportion of variance of Z explained by the predictors).

Therefore, we simulated 2×3=6 scenarios, labeled as follows:

  • A90: uncorrelated X, 90% explained variance;
  • A70: uncorrelated X, 70% explained variance;
  • A50: uncorrelated X, 50% explained variance;
  • B90: correlated X, 90% explained variance;
  • B70: correlated X, 70% explained variance;
  • B50: correlated X, 50% explained variance.

We set n=200 and p=300, so that p>n. Synthetic datasets were generated by simulating a design matrix X according to the characteristics described above, and a vector of independent normally distributed errors ɛ with zero mean and unit variance. Only the first 10 parameters of the vector β were set to a non-zero value, so as to yield 10 true predictors. The module of such parameters was set so as to obtain the given percentage of explained variance. The 10 true parameters were assigned alternating signs. The values of Zi so generated were then binarized according to their sign to obtain Yi (equation 2). Each dataset featured an approximately equal number of cases and controls. For each scenario, 50 simulated datasets were generated.

BOSS was run for 6000 iterations (first 1000 of burn-in). The prior model size pγ was specified by E[pγ]=20 and Var[pγ]=100, which elicited the values a=4.52 and b=63.26. Parameter τ was fixed to 1, as done by Bottolo and Richardson8 and Hans et al,12 except in scenarios A50 and B50 where a value of 0.1 proved more suitable. In principle, one could additionally sample τ to actually optimize the algorithm performances. The prior mean and variance were chosen so as to cover a reasonable range of plausible model sizes. The resulting prior density for pγ is depicted in figure 2.

Logistic lasso and elastic net were run with the ‘one-standard-error rule’ to choose the penalty parameter.11 The elastic net method was executed with equal lasso and ridge-regression penalties. Stepwise regression was performed using the default settings of the stepwisefit function.

The goal of the simulated benchmark was to assess the capabilities of BOSS, logistic lasso, elastic net, and stepwise regression to capture the true predictors used to generate the data, while discarding useless predictors. For this purpose, we evaluated precision, recall, and F-measure relative to the number of predictors correctly/incorrectly identified as true/false. In the case of BOSS, a predictor was deemed ‘true’ if its marginal posterior probability of inclusion8, 12 was at least 50%.

Results of the comparison are reported in figure 3 for uncorrelated predictors (A90, A70, and A50) and in figure 4 for correlated predictors (B90, B70, and B50). The two figures show the distribution of F-measure values obtained with BOSS, logistic lasso, elastic net, and stepwise regression in each scenario. Average numerical values are also reported in table 1 for precision and recall.

In most scenarios considered here, BOSS outperformed the three reference methods in terms of F-measure. Although BOSS achieved generally lower recall rates, it attained higher values of precision and a better overall tradeoff. Larger priors on the model size and a larger number of iterations did not substantially affect the results obtained with BOSS.

Interestingly, the performances of the four methods did not degrade if predictors were correlated. Overall, logistic lasso proved superior to the traditional stepwise regression and comparable to the elastic net.

Furthermore, we assessed the ability of the four methods to correctly predict newly observed binary responses that were not used for parameter estimation. For this purpose, 50 additional datasets-per-scenario were simulated. The new outcomes were then predicted using the features selected by each method. Prediction performances were evaluated in terms of correctly/incorrectly predicted positive/negative responses. A new outcome was predicted as positive (y=1) if the corresponding probability, reconstructed with the selected features, was greater than a given threshold. We then evaluated specificity, sensitivity, and prediction accuracy for thresholds from 0.05 to 0.95, with steps of 0.05. In order to obtain summary statistics, we computed the area under the receiver operating characteristic (ROC AUC) using mean specificity and sensitivity for a given threshold. Additionally, we calculated the average prediction accuracy across all thresholds.

Table 2 shows the results of our predictive analysis. In most cases, the AUC obtained with BOSS is only slightly greater than with the other three methods. In terms of accuracy, however, BOSS achieves a substantial improvement.

Experimental case studies

This section reports the results obtained by BOSS and the three reference methods on the two experimental GWASs.

GWAS on exceptional longevity

A total of 410 long aged individuals (cases), 553 average living controls and 290 364 autosomal SNPs passing data quality control underwent a feature selection pre-processing phase. A subset of 5707 SNPs, selected according to the inclusion criteria reported in the Materials and methods section, were then considered for subsequent analyses. BOSS was run for 20 000 iterations (first 5000 of burn-in; running time of about 4.5 days). The prior model size pγ was specified by E[pγ]=20 and Var[pγ]=100, so as to encompass a range of plausible model sizes without being overly restrictive.

Our analysis allowed the identification of several relevant markers. In particular, the intergenic SNP rs2147556 achieved a 100% probability of inclusion, while rs10491334, mapping to CAMK4 and previously identified as strongly associated,14 achieved a probability of about 76%. Moreover, BOSS was able to identify rs522796 (KL gene) as mildly associated with the outcome (probability of 14%). This SNP was reported to be related to non-diabetic end-stage renal disease20 and preterm birth.21 SNP rs800292, mapping to CFH and known to be associated with age-related macular degeneration,22 was also identified, although with a relatively low probability of inclusion (10%). Posterior probabilities of SNPs obtained with BOSS are shown in figure 5. We limited the plot to the top 10 SNPs in order to summarize the most relevant findings only.

In order to further evaluate the results obtained by the proposed model search technique, we additionally fitted a multivariate logistic regression model on the top 10 predictors of figure 5. Results are summarized in table 3.

It is interesting to observe that the minor allele of rs800292 has a predisposing additive impact on longevity (OR=1.53): this is in accordance with the results obtained by Yang et al, who showed a significant association of rs800292 with a reduced risk for exudative age-related macular degeneration.22

As a further step, we ran logistic lasso, elastic net, and stepwise regression on the longevity data to assess possible differences with the results obtained by BOSS. The three algorithms were run with the same settings described in the Simulated benchmark section of the Results section. In our analysis, the logistic lasso included most of the features reported in figure 5, but failed to detect rs800292. The elastic net yielded a more parsimonious model, which included four SNPs (rs2147556, rs10491334, rs621011, and rs522796). Stepwise regression selected a large number of features (891): all SNPs in figure 5 were included except rs522796.


A total of 1924 T2D patients, 1458 UK Blood Service (UKBS) controls and 456 856 autosomal SNPs (mapping to chromosomes 1–22) passing data quality control15 underwent a features selection phase (see Materials and methods section). A total of 4102 markers were then considered for subsequent analyses. We ran BOSS for 700 iterations (first 200 of burn-in; running time of about 1 day). Increasing the number of iterations did not yield appreciably different results. The prior model size pγ was specified by E[pγ]=4 and Var[pγ]=4, in order to allow BOSS identify only the most relevant genetic features.

Our analysis detected several SNPs mapping to gene regions which have been previously associated with metabolic syndromes or other disease classes. In particular, the top ranked SNP rs7193144 is an intronic marker mapping to FTO, a gene that has been already associated with T2D and obesity conditions in several European cohorts.15, 23–25 Moreover, rs4132670 and rs10885409 map to TCF7L2, previously reported to be associated with T2D.15, 26, 27 Last, rs11693602 is localized within the RBMS1 gene, which has been associated with T2D by Qi et al.28 Posterior probabilities of SNPs obtained with BOSS are shown in figure 6. We limited the plot to the top 20 SNPs in order to summarize the most relevant findings only.

Additionally, we performed further model evaluation by fitting a multivariate logistic regression on the genetic markers reported in figure 6. Results are reported in table 4.

We also performed logistic lasso, elastic net, and stepwise regression on the T2D data. All three algorithms identified more than 600 features each. However, stepwise regression and logistic lasso detected none of the four SNPs introduced above. The elastic net missed rs10885409, but captured rs7193144, rs11693602, and rs4132670.


The results obtained offer an interesting insight into our new model search technique and its performances relative to three established methods for feature selection.

In the simulated benchmark, stepwise regression captured many features, including important ones, although at the cost of reduced precision. Logistic lasso performed better than stepwise regression and comparably to the elastic net, although both techniques attained relatively low precisions (0.26–0.59; see table 1). By contrast, as far as this simulation study is concerned, BOSS was able to discover true signals even in difficult scenarios with as low as 50% of explained variance. Note that, even if the prior model size allowed for possibly large models (up to about 60 predictors, see figure 2), BOSS was able to identify a small subset of key features that correlated well with the data, while discarding unimportant predictors. Interestingly, BOSS compared favorably with the reference methods in terms of prediction performances. Our analysis suggests that the greater ability of BOSS to detect the true predictors entails increased prediction accuracy on newly observed data.

It is worth remarking that, in principle, BOSS is also capable of handling interactions between features. Although this was not extensively explored, a preliminary simulated analysis (similar to the A90 scenario) showed that BOSS successfully captured both the main and interaction effects between pairs of features.

In the longevity study, BOSS effectively accomplished variable selection with many possible predictors (about 5700 SNPs) and a smaller number of observations (n=963). BOSS successfully identified relevant genetic markers and yielded a parsimonious model, which can be used for predictive purposes. In particular, rs10491334 has been previously associated with longevity in the same population,14 while rs800292 has been previously associated with age-related macular degeneration in a cohort of Han Chinese individuals.22 Moreover, rs522796 has been reported both in relation to non-diabetic end-stage renal disease20 and preterm birth.21

The results from logistic lasso, elastic net, and stepwise regression obtained on the longevity data were comparable, although neither the lasso nor the elastic net were able to detect rs800292. Stepwise regression yielded an overly parametrized model, with almost as many features (891) as subjects (963), but missed the association of rs522796.

In the T2D study, BOSS identified SNPs mapping to genes known to be associated with diabetes or other metabolic syndromes.15, 23–28 Further, BOSS identified functionally relevant variants that would have been discarded by standard univariate association tests: for example, the top SNP detected by BOSS, rs7193144, achieved a univariate p value of 2.61×10−5 (χ2 distribution with 2 degrees of freedom), which is greater than usual significance thresholds, for example, 1×10−5 or less. A direct comparison of our findings with those reported by the WTCCC15 is only partially feasible, since our research group has no access to the WTCCC 1958 British Birth Cohort, which was included in the original analyses as the control group. Locus-based analyses will allow identification of structural correlations and/or potential interactions between the selected SNPs and other functionally relevant unobserved variants.

Interestingly, stepwise regression and logistic lasso were able to detect a large set of features, but failed to identify the four SNPs reported in the Results section. This may be explained by convergence to a local optimum for the stepwise regression, and excessive coefficient shrinkage for the lasso. The elastic net did not detect rs10885409 but found the other three markers described above.

The computational efficiency of our approach deserves one last remark. It is a known in the literature that advanced sampling-based techniques for model selection may be computationally demanding (see, for example, O'Hara and Sillanpää29), especially if compared to lasso-based methods.11 In the two experimental studies, we preliminarily filtered the genetic features to approximately the same number (about 4000 and 6000), so as to demonstrate the effectiveness of our approach while keeping the computational complexity reasonable. Nonetheless, our results showed that the detection of relevant makers was not hindered. Of note, variational Bayes approaches (see, for example, Girolami et al30) could be adapted for model selection to further speed up the model search.


The algorithm presented in this paper represents a step forward in the statistical methodology for variable selection. Binary outcomes have traditionally received less attention than continuous outcomes, mainly because of their lower analytical tractability. Moreover, the ‘p>n’ problem requires advanced techniques that allow discovery of important features without yielding overparametrized models. We tackled such challenges using a Bayesian paradigm and developed a general MCMC framework for variable selection in the presence of binary responses. The exact formulation of the likelihood paves the way to generalizations such as multinomial responses that cannot be handled simply by Gaussian approximation. The results obtained from our simulated benchmark and the two experimental case studies suggest that BOSS is an effective and reliable tool for model selection when the number of features is very large.


Contributors: AR and RB conceived the main idea of the paper. AR developed the algorithm and the software implementation. AM performed the statistical analyses. All authors contributed to writing and reviewing the manuscript.

Funding:This research was supported by the European Union's Seventh Framework Programme (FP7/2007-2013) for the Innovative Medicine Initiative under grant agreement no. IMI/115006 (the SUMMIT consortium). This study makes use of data generated by the Wellcome Trust Case Control Consortium. A full list of the investigators who contributed to the generation of the data is available from Funding for the project was provided by the Wellcome Trust under award076113.

Competing interests: None.

Provenance and peer review: Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

We gratefully acknowledge Professor Antonietta Mira for insightful discussions. We also thank the anonymous reviewers and the Associate Editor for their suggestions, which helped improve the clarity and accuracy of the manuscript.

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[Figure ID: fig1]
Figure 1 

Relationships among the stochastic nodes sampled by BOSS. Squares denote constants (eg, the design matrix), and circles denote random variables.

[Figure ID: fig2]
Figure 2 

Prior density of model size pγ used for BOSS in the simulation benchmark.

[Figure ID: fig3]
Figure 3 

F-measure comparison in scenarios A90, A70, and A50 (uncorrelated predictors). EN, elastic net; LL, logistic lasso; SW, stepwise regression.

[Figure ID: fig4]
Figure 4 

F-measure comparison in scenarios B90, B70, and B50 (correlated predictors). EN, elastic net; LL, logistic lasso; SW, stepwise regression.

[Figure ID: fig5]
Figure 5 

Marginal posterior probabilities of the 10 top single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) identified by BOSS in the longevity dataset. Darker bars denote SNPs previously reported in the literature.

[Figure ID: fig6]
Figure 6 

Marginal posterior probabilities of the 20 top single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) identified by BOSS in the type 2 diabetes (T2D) dataset. Darker bars denote SNPs previously reported in the literature.

[TableWrap ID: tbl1] Table 1 

Comparison of precision, recall, and F-measure obtained with stepwise regression (SW), elastic net (EN), logistic lasso (LL) and BOSS

Scenario Average precision Average recall Average F-measure
A90 0.29 0.26 0.33 0.93 1 0.99 0.99 1 0.44 0.40 0.49 0.96
A70 0.28 0.35 0.45 0.78 0.93 0.89 0.89 0.80 0.42 0.48 0.57 0.75
A50 0.23 0.40 0.52 0.68 0.73 0.54 0.50 0.46 0.34 0.44 0.46 0.53
B90 0.35 0.28 0.39 0.95 1 1 1 0.98 0.52 0.43 0.56 0.96
B70 0.31 0.35 0.44 0.78 0.82 0.95 0.93 0.77 0.45 0.50 0.59 0.76
B50 0.26 0.48 0.59 0.83 0.63 0.68 0.61 0.47 0.36 0.49 0.52 0.58

Each value is the average across the 50 datasets simulated in each scenario. In terms of F-measure, BOSS performed better than the three reference methods (p<0.01, one-sided paired t test).

[TableWrap ID: tbl2] Table 2 

Comparison of prediction performances on new data using the selected features

Scenario ROC AUC Average accuracy
A90 0.86 0.92 0.93 0.96 0.60 0.66 0.71 0.85
A70 0.78 0.82* 0.82* 0.82 0.59 0.60 0.61 0.70
A50 0.64 0.65 0.66 0.67 0.54 0.53 0.53 0.57
B90 0.87 0.92 0.93 0.94 0.60 0.68 0.71 0.80
B70 0.70 0.77* 0.78* 0.77 0.54 0.57 0.58 0.64
B50 0.64 0.68* 0.67* 0.68 0.54 0.54 0.54 0.56

Except where indicated (*), BOSS improved on the three reference methods (p<0.05, one-sided paired t test).

EN, elastic net; LL, logistic lasso; ROC AUC, area under the receiver operating characteristic; SW, stepwise regression.

[TableWrap ID: tbl3] Table 3 

Summary of results from logistic regression on the top 10 predictors identified by BOSS in the longevity dataset

SNP Chr Position (bp) Gene OR (95% CI) p Value
rs2147556 13 72010472 0.58 (0.46 to 0.72) 1.8×10−6
rs10491334 5 110800303 CAMK4 0.58 (0.45 to 0.76) 5.3×10−5
rs621011 11 78294837 1.52 (1.24 to 1.87) 7.4×10−5
rs1570383 6 126241555 0.61 (0.47 to 0.78) 1.1×10−4
rs1158408 4 67799134 1.55 (1.21 to 1.99) 5.0×10−4
rs9613094 22 24788388 0.58 (0.44 to 0.75) 6.0×10−5
rs522796 13 32528055 KL 1.36 (1.12 to 1.67) 2.5×10−3
rs4869566 5 38165184 0.67 (0.54 to 0.84) 4.5×10−4
rs800292 1 194908856 CFH 1.53 (1.19 to 1.97) 9.7×10−4
rs7567687 2 129750796 0.69 (0.56 to 0.85) 4.1×10−4

Chr, chromosome; Position (bp), physical position on the chromosome expressed in terms of base pairs; SNP, single nucleotide polymorphism.

[TableWrap ID: tbl4] Table 4 

Summary of results from logistic regression on the top 20 predictors identified by BOSS in the T2D dataset

SNP Chr Position (bp) Gene OR (95% CI) p Value
rs7193144 16 53810686 FTO 1.25 (1.13 to 1.39) 2.4×10−5
rs7115136 11 98935203 0.79 (0.71 to 0.89) 4.1×10−5
rs540532 2 30954621 1.38 (1.20 to 1.59) 8.3×10−6
rs1426409 4 37173944 0.78 (0.69 to 0.88) 3.6×10−5
rs2582753 2 191216109 1.34 (1.18 to 1.52) 4.7×10−6
rs9874888 3 60016317 0.76 (0.67 to 0.85) 5.3×10−6
rs11693602 2 161224658 RBMS1 0.74 (0.65 to 0.84) 4.0×10−6
rs4788837 17 72466219 0.78 (0.70 to 0.88) 2.2×10−5
rs228787 17 42099488 1.36 (1.18 to 1.57) 1.7×10−5
rs11178602 12 71491505 1.18 (1.04 to 1.34) 1.1×10−2
rs1981496 14 106645846 0.71 (0.60 to 0.84) 1.1×10−4
rs13244625 7 2206690 1.30 (1.13 to 1.49) 1.5×10−4
rs1208611 10 38160499 1.56 (1.29 to 1.89) 6.5×10−6
rs4132670 10 114767771 TCF7L2 1.36 (1.16 to 1.59) 2.0×10−4
rs1708558 6 67049406 0.75 (0.65 to 0.87) 1.6×10−4
rs10885409 10 114808072 TCF7L2 0.90 (0.77 to 1.04) 1.6×10−1
rs4760786 12 71446789 0.86 (0.75 to 0.98) 2.5×10−2
rs2154490 21 30915962 1.26 (1.12 to 1.43) 1.7×10−4
rs11688935 2 189175905 1.26 (1.13 to 1.41) 4.4×10−5
rs2239930 17 10558733 1.26 (1.12 to 1.43) 2.0×10−4

Chr, chromosome; Position (bp), physical position on the chromosome expressed in terms of base pairs; SNP, single nucleotide polymorphism.

Article Categories:
  • Research and Applications
Article Categories:
  • 1506
Series: FOCUS on translational bioinformatics.

Keywords: Feature selection, stochastic model search, binary outcomes, GWAS, pharmacokinetics, pharmacodynamics, population models, bayesian modelling, genetics, data mining, integration of clinical and molecular data.

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