Despite heritability estimates of 40–70% for obesity, less than 2% of its variation is explained by Body Mass Index (BMI) associated loci that have been identified so far. Epistasis, or gene-gene interactions are a plausible source to explain portions of the missing heritability of BMI. Using genotypic data from 18,686 individuals across five study cohorts – ARIC, CARDIA, FHS, CHS, MESA – we filtered SNPs (Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms) using two parallel approaches. SNPs were filtered either on the strength of their main effects of association with BMI, or on the number of knowledge sources supporting a specific SNP-SNP interaction in the context of BMI. Filtered SNPs were specifically analyzed for interactions that are highly associated with BMI using QMDR (Quantitative Multifactor Dimensionality Reduction). QMDR is a nonparametric, genetic model-free method that detects non-linear interactions associated with a quantitative trait.
De, Rishika; Verma, Shefali S.; Drenos, Fotios; and Holzinger, Emily R., "Identifying Gene-Gene Interactions that are Highly Associated with Body Mass Index Using Quantitative Multifactor Dimensionality Reduction (QMDR)" (2015). Open Dartmouth: Faculty Open Access Articles. 546.