Understanding differences in the genetic architecture of complex traits between the two sexes has significant implications for evolutionary studies and clinical diagnosis. However, our knowledge about sex-specific genetic architecture is limited largely because of a lack of analytical models that can detect and quantify the effects of sex on the complexity of quantitative genetic variation. Here, we derived a statistical model for mapping DNA sequence variants that contribute to sex-specific differences in allele frequencies, linkage disequilibria, and additive and dominance genetic effects due to haplotype diversity. This model allows a genome-wide search for functional haplotypes and the estimation and test of haplotype by sex interactions and sex-specific heritability. The model, validated by simulation studies, was used to detect sex-specific functional haplotypes that encode a pain sensitivity trait in humans. The model could have important implications for mapping complex trait genes and studying the detailed genetic architecture of sex-specific differences.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Medicine
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
- Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine