This research is the first empirical attempt to calculate the various components of the hidden bias associated with the sampling strategies routinely-used in human genetics, with special reference to surname-based strategies. We reconstructed surname distributions of 26 Italian communities with different demographic features across the last six centuries (years 1447-2001). The degree of overlapping between "reference founding core" distributions and the distributions obtained from sampling the present day communities by probabilistic and selective methods was quantified under different conditions and models. When taking into account only one individual per surname (low kinship model), the average discrepancy was 59.5%, with a peak of 84% by random sampling. When multiple individuals per surname were considered (high kinship model), the discrepancy decreased by 8-30% at the cost of a larger variance. Criteria aimed at maximizing locally-spread patrilineages and long-term residency appeared to be affected by recent gene flows much more than expected. Selection of the more frequent family names following low kinship criteria proved to be a suitable approach only for historically stable communities. In any other case true random sampling, despite its high variance, did not return more biased estimates than other selective methods. Our results indicate that the sampling of individuals bearing historically documented surnames (founders' method) should be applied, especially when studying the male-specific genome, to prevent an over-stratification of ancient and recent genetic components that heavily biases inferences and statistics.

Estimating Sampling Selection Bias in Human Genetics: A Phenomenological Approach

TAGLIOLI, LUCA;ROSSI, PAOLO;TOFANELLI, SERGIO
Ultimo
2015

Abstract

This research is the first empirical attempt to calculate the various components of the hidden bias associated with the sampling strategies routinely-used in human genetics, with special reference to surname-based strategies. We reconstructed surname distributions of 26 Italian communities with different demographic features across the last six centuries (years 1447-2001). The degree of overlapping between "reference founding core" distributions and the distributions obtained from sampling the present day communities by probabilistic and selective methods was quantified under different conditions and models. When taking into account only one individual per surname (low kinship model), the average discrepancy was 59.5%, with a peak of 84% by random sampling. When multiple individuals per surname were considered (high kinship model), the discrepancy decreased by 8-30% at the cost of a larger variance. Criteria aimed at maximizing locally-spread patrilineages and long-term residency appeared to be affected by recent gene flows much more than expected. Selection of the more frequent family names following low kinship criteria proved to be a suitable approach only for historically stable communities. In any other case true random sampling, despite its high variance, did not return more biased estimates than other selective methods. Our results indicate that the sampling of individuals bearing historically documented surnames (founders' method) should be applied, especially when studying the male-specific genome, to prevent an over-stratification of ancient and recent genetic components that heavily biases inferences and statistics.
Risso, Davide; Taglioli, Luca; De Iasio, Sergio; Gueresi, Paola; Alfani, Guido; Nelli, Sergio; Rossi, Paolo; Paoli, Giorgio; Tofanelli, Sergio
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11568/756404
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