Power and efficiency of the TDT and case-control design for association scans

Ralph McGinnis, Sagiv Shifman, Ariel Darvasi*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

57 Scopus citations


Sample size required for the TDT and the case-control designs was studied for marker-based genome-wide scans for disease association. The influence of various parameters on sample size required to attain a given level of power was analyzed in detail. Small genotypic relative risks, low levels of linkage disequilibrium, and departure from equal frequencies for the disease allele and associated marker allele, significantly and similarly increase sample size required by either the TDT or case-control design. Under the case-control paradigm, we show that the optimal strategy will often be to collect many more control individuals than disease cases with the optimal ratio depending on the relative cost of acquiring cases as compared to controls. For the TDT, the number of required simplex families is virtually equal to the number of cases required for similar power in case-control studies with an equal number of cases and controls. The case- control approach may therefore prove to be more economical and expeditious than the TDT design for diseases in which the cost and time required to collect simplex families is much greater than that needed to acquire isolated disease cases. Nevertheless, possible population stratification needs to be addressed when the case-control design is applied.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)135-144
Number of pages10
JournalBehavior Genetics
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2002

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was partially supported by the FIRST foundation of the Israeli Academy of Science.


  • Association
  • Case-control
  • Complex traits
  • Genetic diseases
  • TDT


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