Fast kernel-based association testing of non-linear genetic effects for biobank-scale data

Boyang Fu, Ali Pazokitoroudi, Mukund Sudarshan, Zhengtong Liu, Lakshminarayanan Subramanian, Sriram Sankararaman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Our knowledge of non-linear genetic effects on complex traits remains limited, in part, due to the modest power to detect such effects. While kernel-based tests offer a versatile approach to test for non-linear relationships between sets of genetic variants and traits, current approaches cannot be applied to Biobank-scale datasets containing hundreds of thousands of individuals. We propose, FastKAST, a kernel-based approach that can test for non-linear effects of a set of variants on a quantitative trait. FastKAST provides calibrated hypothesis tests while enabling analysis of Biobank-scale datasets with hundreds of thousands of unrelated individuals from a homogeneous population. We apply FastKAST to 53 quantitative traits measured across ≈ 300 K unrelated white British individuals in the UK Biobank to detect sets of variants with non-linear effects at genome-wide significance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number4936
JournalNature communications
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2023

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Physics and Astronomy


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