Numerous familial, non-Mendelian (i.e., complex) diseases have been screened by linkage analysis for regions harboring susceptibility genes. Except for rare, high-penetrance syndromes showing Mendelian inheritance, such as BRCA1 and BRCA2, most attempts have failed to produce replicable linkage findings. For example, in multiple sclerosis and other complex diseases, there have been many reports of significant linkage, followed by numerous failures to replicate. In inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), linkage to two regions has elsewhere been reported at genomewide significance levels: the pericentromeric region on chromosome 16 (IBD1) and chromosome 12q (IBD2). As with other complex diseases, the subsequent support for these localizations has been variable. In this article, we report the results of an international collaborative effort to investigate these putative localization by pooling of data sets that do not individually provide convincing evidence for linkage to these regions. Our results, generated by the genotyping and analysis of 12 microsatellite markers in 613 families, provide unequivocal replication of linkage for a common human disease: a Crohn disease susceptibility locus on chromosome 16 (maximum LOD score 5.79). Despite failure to replicate the previous evidence for linkage on chromosome 12, the results described herein indicate the need to further investigate the potential role of this locus in susceptibility to ulcerative colitis. This report provides a convincing example of the collaborative approach necessary to obtain the sample numbers required to achieve statistical power in studies of complex human traits.
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