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Title: Scalable rare variant meta-analysis of sequencing studies using summary statistics and functional annotations Authors:  Xihao Li - Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health (United States) [presenting]
Zilin Li - Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health (United States)
Xihong Lin - Havard University (United States)
Abstract: Large-scale whole-genome/exome sequencing (WGS/WES) studies have enabled the analysis of rare variants (RVs) associated with complex human traits and diseases. Existing RV meta-analysis approaches are not scalable when applied to WGS/WES data. We propose MetaSTAAR, a powerful and resource-efficient RV meta-analysis framework, for large-scale WGS association studies. MetaSTAAR accounts for population structure and relatedness for both continuous and dichotomous traits. By storing LD information of RVs in a new sparse matrix format, the proposed framework is highly storage efficient and computationally scalable for analyzing large-scale WGS/WES data without information loss. Furthermore, MetaSTAAR dynamically incorporates multiple functional annotations to empower RV association analysis, and enables conditional analyses to identify RV-set signals independent of nearby common variants. We applied MetaSTAAR to identify RV-sets associated with four quantitative lipid traits in 30,138 related samples from the NHLBI TOPMed Program Freeze 5 data, consisting of 14 ancestrally diverse studies and 255 million variants in total, as well as the UK Biobank WES data of ~200,000 related samples.