Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is extremely heterogeneous clinically and genetically. There is a pressing need for a better understanding of the heterogeneity of ASD based on scientifically rigorous approaches centered on systematic evaluation of the clinical and research utility of both phenotype and genotype markers. This paper presents a holistic PheWAS-inspired method to identify meaningful associations between ASD phenotypes and genotypes. We generate two types of phenotype-phenotype (p-p) graphs: a direct graph that utilizes only phenotype data, and an indirect graph that incorporates genotype as well as phenotype data. We introduce a novel methodology for fusing the direct and indirect p-p networks in which the genotype data is incorporated into the phenotype data in varying degrees. The hypothesis is that the heterogeneity of ASD can be distinguished by clustering the p-p graph. The obtained graphs are clustered using network-oriented clustering techniques, and results are evaluated. The most promising clusterings are subsequently analyzed for biological and domain-based relevance. Clusters obtained delineated different aspects of ASD, including differentiating ASD-specific symptoms, cognitive, adaptive, language and communication functions, and behavioral problems. Some of the important genes associated with the clusters have previous known associations to ASD. We found that clusters based on integrated genetic and phenotype data were more effective at identifying relevant genes than clusters constructed from phenotype information alone. These genes included five with suggestive evidence of ASD association and one known to be a strong candidate.
J. Matta et al., "Connecting Phenotype To Genotype: PheWAS-inspired Analysis Of Autism Spectrum Disorder," Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, vol. 16, article no. 960991, Frontiers Media, Oct 2022.
The definitive version is available at https://doi.org/10.3389/fnhum.2022.960991
Keywords and Phrases
autism spectrum disorders; genotypes; graph-based clustering; kNN graphs; PheWAS
International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)
Article - Journal
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12 Oct 2022