1 Introduction

Compared to case-control studies, family-based studies offer more power to detect causal rare variants, require smaller sample sizes, and detect sequencing errors more accurately [14]. However, data collection for family-based studies is both time-consuming and expensive. Furthermore, evaluating methodology to identify causal rare variants requires simulated data. In this vignette we illustrate how the methods provided by SimRVSequences may be used to to simulate sequence data for family-based studies of diploid organisms.

Please note that SimRVSequences does not simulate genotype conditional on phenotype. Instead, `SimRVSequences simulates haplotypes conditional on the genotype at a single causal rare variant (cRV), via the following algorithm.

  1. For each pedigree, we sample a cRV from a pool of SNVs specified by the user (see section 3.3); this is the familial cRV.
  2. After identifying the familial cRV we sample founder haplotypes from haplotype data conditional on the founder’s cRV status at the familial cRV.
  3. Proceeding forward in time, from founders to more recent generations, for each parent/offspring pair we
    1. simulate recombination and formation of parental gametes (see section 6), and then
    2. perform a conditional gene drop to model inheritance of the cRV (see section 6).

2 User Requirements

To simulate sequence data for a family-based study users are expected to provide:

  1. a sample of pedigrees, and
  2. single-nucleotide variant (SNV) data from a sample of unrelated individuals representing the population of pedigree founders.

In section 3 of this vignette, we outline three different SNV data options. The flow chart in Figure 1 illustrates the preparation required for each of the above inputs. We note that simulation of SNV data with SLiM [4] is NOT accomplished in R. However, we do provide pre- and post-processing methods to assist with importing and formatting the SNV data simulated by SLiM, which are discussed at length in section 3.1. In section 4 we outline two different pedigree data options, the second of which is a brief review of simulating pedigree data using the R package SimRVPedigree [10].

Figure 1: Data preparation flow chart. All tasks completed in R are enclosed in rectangular frames while the SLiM simulation component seen in option 1 of the Prepare SNV Data is enclosed in a parallelogram.

3 Prepare Single Nucleotide Variant Data

Before we can simulate genetic data for a sample of pedigrees, we require single-nucleotide variant (SNV) data for the pedigree founders. Several simulation programs can aid in this task (e.g. msprime and fastsimcoal); however, we have found the Eidos program SLiM [4] to be the most practical for simulation of genome-wide, exon-only SNV data for a large number of unrelated individuals. In section 3.1, we demonstrate how the methods provided by SimRVSequences can be used to assist users in simulating exon-only sequence data with SLiM. For users who would prefer to upload SNV data from existing VCF files, we provide a detailed demonstration of the process required to import and format VCF data in section 3.2. Additionally, we offer pre-formatted exon-only SNV data from the 1000 Genomes Project [1] which can be imported using our load_1KG function; we illustrate the usage of this function in section 3.3.

3.1 Option 1: Simulate SNV data with SLiM

SLiM [4] is a highly versatile simulation tool with many features for simulating sequence data. Among these features, is the ability to simulate recombination hotspots using a user-specified recombination map. This recombination map may be utilized to simulate SNVs over unlinked regions (i.e. in different chromosomes) or in linked but non-contiguous regions (i.e in exon-only data). In section 3.1 we demonstrate how the create_slimMap function may be used to generate the recombination map required by SLiM to simulate exon-only SNV data over the entire human genome.

After simulating SNV data with SLiM, users may import the simulated data to R using the read_slim function. This task is demonstrated in section 3.2.

Finally, in section 3.3 we demonstrate how users may implement a pathway approach by specifying a pool of rare variants from which to select causal familial variants.

3.1.1 Create Recombination Map to Simulate Genome-Wide, Exon-Only Data with SLiM

The SimRVSequences function create_slimMap simplifies the task of creating the recombination map required by SLiM to simulate exon-only SNV data. The create_slimMap function has three arguments:

  1. exon_df: A data frame that contains the positions of each exon to simulate. This data frame must contain the variables chrom, exonStart, and exonEnd. We expect that exon_df does not contain any overlapping segments. Prior to supplying the exon data to create_slimMap users must combine overlapping exons into a single observation. Our combine_exons function may be used for this task (see appendix for details).
  2. mutation_rate: the per-site per-generation mutation rate, assumed to be constant across the genome. By default, mutation_rate= 1E-8, as in [5].
  3. recomb_rate: the per-site per-generation recombination rate, assumed to be constant across the genome. By default, recomb_rate= 1E-8, as in [5].

We will illustrate usage of create_slimMap with the hg_exons data set.

# load the SimRVSequences library
library(SimRVSequences)

# load the hg_exons dataset
data("hg_exons")

# print the first four rows of hg_exons
head(hg_exons, n = 4)
##   chrom exonStart exonEnd                  NCBIref
## 1     1     11874   12227              NR_046018.2
## 2     1     12613   12721              NR_046018.2
## 3     1     13221   14829 NR_046018.2, NR_024540.1
## 4     1     14970   15038              NR_024540.1

As seen in the output above, the hg_exons data set catalogs the position of each exon in the 22 human autosomes. The data contained in hg_exons were collected from the hg 38 reference genome with the UCSC Genome Browser [6, 7]. The variable chrom is the chromosome on which the exon resides, exonStart is the position of the first base pair in the exon, and exonEnd is the position of the last base pair in the exon. The variable NCBIref is the NCBI reference sequence accession numbers for the coding region in which the exon resides. In hg_exons overlapping exons have been combined into a single observation. When exons from genes with different NCBI accession numbers have been combined the variable NCBIref will contain multiple accession numbers separated by commas. We note that different accession numbers may exist for transcript variants of the same gene.

Since the exons in hg_exons have already been combined into non-overlapping segments, we supply this data frame to create_slimMap.

# create recombination map for exon-only data using the hg_exons dataset 
s_map <- create_slimMap(exon_df = hg_exons)

# print first four rows of s_map 
head(s_map, n = 4)
##   chrom segLength  recRate mutRate  exon simDist endPos
## 1     1     11873 0.00e+00   0e+00 FALSE       1      1
## 2     1       354 1.00e-08   1e-08  TRUE     354    355
## 3     1       385 3.85e-06   0e+00 FALSE       1    356
## 4     1       109 1.00e-08   1e-08  TRUE     109    465

The create_slimMap function returns a data frame with several variables:

  1. chrom: the chromosome number.
  2. segLength: the length of the segment in base pairs. We assume that segments contain the positions listed in exonStart and exonEnd. Therefore, for a combined exon segment, segLength is calculated as exonEnd - exonStart + 1.
  3. recRate: the per-site per-generation recombination rate. Following [5], segments between exons on the same chromosome are simulated as a single base pair with rec_rate equal to recombination rate multiplied by the number of base pairs in the segment. For each chromosome, a single site is created between the last exon on the previous chromosome and the first exon of the current chromosome. This site will have recombination rate 0.5 to accommodate unlinked chromosomes.
  4. mutRate: the per-site per-generation mutation rate. Since we are interested in exon-only data, the mutation rate outside exons is set to zero.
  5. exon: logical variable, TRUE if segment is an exon and FALSE if not an exon.
  6. simDist: the simulated exon length, in base pairs. When exon = TRUE, simDist = segLength; however, when exon = FALSE, simDist = 1 since segments between exons on the same chromosome are simulated as a single base pair.
  7. endPos: The simulated end position, in base pairs, of the segment.

The first row in the output above contains information about the genetic segment before the first exon on chromosome 1. Referring back to the hg_exons data we see that the first exon begins at position 11,874. Since the region before the first exon contains 11,873 base pairs segLength = 11873 for this region. To avoid unnecessary computation in SLiM, simDist = 1 so that this non-exonic region is simulated as a single base pair. The recombination rate for this segment is set to zero. However, the first non-exon segment for the next chromosome will be 0.5 so that chromosomes are unlinked. The mutation rate for this non-exon segment is set to zero since we are interested in exon-only data.

The second row of the output catalogs information for the first exon on chromosome 1. This exon contains 354 base pairs, hence simDist = 354 for this segment. The per-site per-generation mutation and recombination rates for this exon are both 1E-08.

The third row contains the information for the second non-exon segment on chromosome 1. This segment contains 385 base pairs. Notice that like the first non-exon segment (i.e. row 1) we simulate this segment as a single site, i.e. simDist = 1. However, we set the recombination rate to segLength multiplied by the argument recomb_rate (i.e. 385*1E-8 = 3.85E-6).

Only three of the variables returned by create_slimMap are required by SLiM to simulate exon-only data: recRate, mutRate, and endPos. The other variables seen in the output above are used by our read_slim function to remap mutations to their correct positions when importing SLiM data to R (see section 3.2).

SLiM is written in a scripting language called Eidos. Unlike an R array, the first position in an Eidos array is 0. Therefore, we must shift the variable endPos forward 1 unit before supplying this data to SLiM.

# restrict output to the variables required by SLiM
slimMap <- s_map[, c("recRate", "mutRate", "endPos")]

# shift endPos up by one unit
slimMap$endPos <- slimMap$endPos - 1

# print first four rows of slimMap 
head(slimMap, n = 4)
##    recRate mutRate endPos
## 1 0.00e+00   0e+00      0
## 2 1.00e-08   1e-08    354
## 3 3.85e-06   0e+00    355
## 4 1.00e-08   1e-08    464

We use SLiM to generate neutral mutations in exons and allowed them to accumulate over 44,000 generations, as in [5]. However, SLiM is incredibly versatile and can accommodate many different types of simulations. The creators of SLiM provide excellent resources and documentation to simulate forwards-in-time evolutionary data, which can be found at the SLiM website: https://messerlab.org/slim/.

3.1.2 Import SLiM Data to R

To import SLiM data to R, we provide the read_slim function, which has been tested for SLiM versions 2.0-3.1. Presently, the read_slim function is only appropriate for data produced by the outputFull() method in SLiM. We do not support output in MS or VCF data format (i.e. produced by outputVCFsample() or outputMSSample() in SLiM).

Our read_slim function has four arguments:

  1. file_path: The file path of the .txt output file created by the outputFull() method in SLiM.
  2. recomb_map: (Optional) A recombination map of the same format as the data frame returned by create_slimMap. Users who followed the instructions in section 3.1, may supply the output from create_slimMap to this argument.
  3. keep_maf: The largest allele frequency for retained SNVs, by default keep_maf = 0.01. All variants with allele frequency greater than keep_maf will be removed. Please note that removing common variants is recommended for large data sets due to the limitations of data allocation in R.
  4. recode_recurrent A logical argument that indicates if recurrent SNVs at the same position should be catalogued as single observation; by default, recode_recurrent = TRUE.
  5. pathway_df: (Optional) A data frame that contains the positions for each exon in a pathway of interest. This data frame must contain the variables chrom, exonStart, and exonEnd. We expect that pathwayDF does not contain any overlapping segments. Users may combine overlapping exons into a single observation with our combine_exons function (see appendix for details).

To clarify, the argument recomb_map is used to remap mutations to their actual locations and chromosomes. This is necessary when data have been simulated over non-contiguous regions such as exon-only data. If recomb_map is not provided, we assume that the SNV data have been simulated over a contiguous segment starting with the first base pair on chromosome 1.

In addition to reducing the size of the data, the argument keep_maf has practicable applicability. In family-based studies, common SNVs are generally filtered out prior to analysis. Users who intend to study common variants in addition to rare variants may need to run chromosome specific analyses to allow for allocation of large data sets in R.

When TRUE, the logical argument recode_recurrent indicates that recurrent SNVs should be recorded as a single observation. SLiM can model many types of mutations; e.g. neutral, beneficial, and deleterious. When different types of mutations occur at the same position carriers will experience different fitness effects depending on the carried mutation. However, when mutations at the same location have the same fitness effects, they represent a recurrent mutation. Even so, SLiM stores recurrent mutations separately and calculates their prevalence independently. When the argument recode_recurrent = TRUE we store recurrent mutations as a single observation and calculate the alternate allele frequency based on their combined prevalence. This convention allows for both reduction in storage and correct estimation of the alternate allele frequency of the mutation. Users who prefer to store recurrent mutations from independent lineages as unique entries should set recode_recurrent = FALSE.

The data frame pathway_df allows users to identify SNVs located within a pathway of interest when importing the data. For example, consider the apoptosis sub-pathway centered about the TNFSF10 gene based on the 25 genes that have the highest interaction with this gene in the UCSC Genome Browser’s Gene Interaction Tool [6, 7, 12]. The data for this sub-pathway are contained in the hg_apopPath data set.

# load the hg_apopPath data
data("hg_apopPath")

# View the first 4 observations of hg_apopPath
head(hg_apopPath, n = 4)
##   chrom exonStart   exonEnd
## 1     1 155689091 155689243
## 2     1 155709033 155709125
## 3     1 155709773 155709824
## 4     1 155717006 155717128
##                                                                    NCBIref
## 1 NM_001199851.1, NM_001199850.1, NM_001199849.1, NM_004632.3, NM_033657.2
## 2                                                           NM_001199849.1
## 3 NM_001199851.1, NM_001199850.1, NM_001199849.1, NM_004632.3, NM_033657.2
## 4                 NM_001199850.1, NM_001199849.1, NM_004632.3, NM_033657.2
##   gene
## 1 DAP3
## 2 DAP3
## 3 DAP3
## 4 DAP3

The hg_apopPath data set is similar the hg_exons data set discussed in section 3.1. However, hg_apopPath only catalogs the positions of exons contained in our sub-pathway.

The following code demonstrates how the read_slim function would be called if create_slimMap was used to create the recombination map for SLiM as in section 3.1.

# Let's suppose the output is saved in the 
# current working directory and is named "slimOut.txt".  
# We import the data using the read_slim function.
s_out <- read_slim(file_path  = "slimOut.txt", 
                   recomb_map = create_slimMap(hg_exons),
                   pathway_df = hg_apopPath)

The read_slim function returns an object of class SNVdata. Objects of class SNVdata inherit from lists. The first item is a sparse matrix named Haplotypes, which contains the haplotype data for unrelated, diploid individuals. The second item is a data frame named Mutations, which catalogs the SNVs contained in Haplotypes.

We note that importing SLiM data can be time-consuming; importing exon-only mutation data simulated over the 22 human autosomes for a sample of 10,000 individuals took approximately 4 mins on a Windows OS with an i7-4790 @ 3.60GHz and 12 GB of RAM. For the purpose of demonstration, we use the EXhaps and EXmuts and data sets provided by SimRVSequences.

The EXhaps data set represents the sparse matrix Haplotypes in the SNVdata object returned by read_slim, and the EXmuts data set represents the Mutations data frame in the SNVdata object returned by read_slim. We note that since these toy data sets only contain 500 SNVs they are not representative of exon-only data over the entire human genome. Instead, they include 50 SNVs that were randomly sampled from genes in the apoptosis sub-pathway, and 450 SNVs sampled from outside the pathway.

# import the EXmuts dataset
data(EXmuts)

# view the first 4 observations of EXmuts
head(EXmuts, n = 4)
##   colID chrom position   afreq     marker pathwaySNV
## 1     1     1  1731297 0.00875  1_1731297      FALSE
## 2     2     1  3411725 0.00005  1_3411725      FALSE
## 3     3     1  3468928 0.00050  1_3468928      FALSE
## 4     4     1 21578402 0.00025 1_21578402      FALSE

The EXmuts data frame is used to catalog the SNVs in EXhaps. Each row in EXmuts represents an SNV. The variable colID associates the rows in EXmuts to the columns of EXhaps, chrom is the chromosome the SNV resides in, position is the position of the SNV in base pairs, afreq is the alternate allele frequency of the SNV, marker is a unique character identifier for the SNV, and pathwaySNV identifies SNVs located within the sub-pathway as TRUE.

# import the EXhaps dataset
data(EXhaps)

# dimensions of EXhaps
dim(EXhaps)
## [1] 20000   500

Looking at the output above we see that EXhaps contains 20,000 haplotypes with 500 SNVs.

# number of rows in EXmuts
nrow(EXmuts)
## [1] 500

Since EXmuts catalogs the SNVs in EXhaps, EXmuts will have 500 rows.

# View the first 30 mutations of the first 15 haplotypes in EXhaps
EXhaps[1:15, 1:30]
## 15 x 30 sparse Matrix of class "dgCMatrix"
##                                                                  
##  [1,] . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
##  [2,] . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 . . . . . . . . . .
##  [3,] . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
##  [4,] . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
##  [5,] . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
##  [6,] . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
##  [7,] . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
##  [8,] . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
##  [9,] . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
## [10,] . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
## [11,] . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
## [12,] . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
## [13,] . . . . . . . . . . 1 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
## [14,] . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
## [15,] . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

From the output above, we see that EXhaps is a sparse matrix of class dgCMatrix. The Matrix package [2] is used to create objects of this class. Entries of 1 represent a mutated allele, while the wild type is represented as ‘.’. Recall that we retain SNVs with alternate allele frequency less than or equal to keep_maf; hence, the majority of entries represent the wild type allele.

3.2 Option 2: Import and Format VCF File Data

3.2.1 Import VCF File to R

Importing vcf data using the vcfR package [8] may be accomplished with the read.vcfR function. To import a vcf file the user supplies the file path to the argument file of the read.vcfR function. For example, suppose the vcf file named “exons_chr21.vcf.gz” was downloaded from https://github.com/simrvprojects/1000-Genomes-Exon-Data/tree/master/Exon%20Data and is stored in a folder named “Data” in the “C” directory. We import “exons_chr21.vcf.gz” using the read.vcfR function as follows:

# load the vcfR package
library(vcfR)
## 
##    *****       ***   vcfR   ***       *****
##    This is vcfR 1.8.0 
##      browseVignettes('vcfR') # Documentation
##      citation('vcfR') # Citation
##    *****       *****      *****       *****
# specify the file path
vcf_file_path <- "C:/Data/exons_chr21.vcf.gz"

# import vcf file
vcf_chrom21 <- read.vcfR(vcf_file_path)
# determine the structure of vcf_chrom21
str(vcf_chrom21)
## Formal class 'vcfR' [package "vcfR"] with 3 slots
##   [email protected] meta: chr [1:21] "##fileformat=VCFv4.3" "##FILTER=<ID=PASS,Description=\"All filters passed\">" "##fileDate=27022019_15h52m43s" "##source=IGSRpipeline" ...
##   [email protected] fix : chr [1:15524, 1:8] "21" "21" "21" "21" ...
##   .. ..- attr(*, "dimnames")=List of 2
##   .. .. ..$ : NULL
##   .. .. ..$ : chr [1:8] "CHROM" "POS" "ID" "REF" ...
##   [email protected] gt  : chr [1:15524, 1:2549] "GT" "GT" "GT" "GT" ...
##   .. ..- attr(*, "dimnames")=List of 2
##   .. .. ..$ : NULL
##   .. .. ..$ : chr [1:2549] "FORMAT" "HG00096" "HG00097" "HG00099" ...

From the output above, we see that vcf_chrom21 is an object of class vcfR with 3 slots. The first slot @meta contains meta data for the vcf file; the second slot @fix contains the fixed data, which describes the mutations contained in the vcf file; and the third slot @gt contains the genotype data. We discuss these components in detail in the following sections. Specifically, in section section 3.2.2 we discuss the genotype data and in section 3.2.3 we discuss the fixed and meta data. For additional information regarding objects of class vcfR please execute help("vcfR-class") in the console.

3.2.2 Format Haplotype Data

We now demonstrate how to format the genotype data into haplotype data. Recall, that the genotype data is stored in the @gt slot of the vcfR object.

# View the first five rows and columns of the genotype data
[email protected][1:5, 1:5]
##      FORMAT HG00096 HG00097 HG00099 HG00100
## [1,] "GT"   "0|0"   "0|0"   "0|0"   "0|0"  
## [2,] "GT"   "0|0"   "0|0"   "0|0"   "0|0"  
## [3,] "GT"   "0|0"   "0|0"   "0|0"   "0|0"  
## [4,] "GT"   "0|1"   "1|1"   "0|0"   "0|0"  
## [5,] "GT"   "0|0"   "0|0"   "0|0"   "0|0"

From the output above, we see that the first column in [email protected] does not contain genotype data, but rather a variable named FORMAT. Following this variable, each column in [email protected] represents an individual identified by a unique character string, e.g. “HG00096”. Each row in [email protected] represents a SNV.

# View first 4 mutations for the individual with ID "HG00096"
[email protected][1:4, "HG00096"]
## [1] "0|0" "0|0" "0|0" "0|1"

From the output above, we see that the individual with ID “HG00096” is homozygous for the reference allele, i.e. “0|0”, for the first three SNVs in the genotypes data. However, for the fourth SNV this individual is heterozygous for the alternate allele, i.e. “0|1”. We note that this data is phased so that the genotypes for each individual are ordered. That is, for a given individual, the first allele may represent the paternally inherited allele while the second may represent the maternally inherited allele and this ordering is consistent in every genotype for this individual.

# Remove the variable named "FORMAT" and store the resulting data as genos 
genos <- [email protected][, -1]

# View the first 5 mutations (i.e. rows) for the first 3 individuals (i.e. columns)
genos[1:5, 1:3]
##      HG00096 HG00097 HG00099
## [1,] "0|0"   "0|0"   "0|0"  
## [2,] "0|0"   "0|0"   "0|0"  
## [3,] "0|0"   "0|0"   "0|0"  
## [4,] "0|1"   "1|1"   "0|0"  
## [5,] "0|0"   "0|0"   "0|0"

To format the genotype data we supply genos to the genos2sparseMatrix function, which is included in the SimRVSequences package. This function may be used to convert phased SNV data for diploid organisms into haplotype data stored as a sparse matrix. We note that this conversion makes use of the methods provided by the Matrix package [2].

# load the SimRVSequences package
library(SimRVSequences)

# Convert to sparseMatrix
haplotypes <- genos2sparseMatrix(genotypes = genos)

Please note that genos2sparseMatrix transposes the supplied genotype data. Thus, in the returned matrix individuals are stored as rows and mutations are stored as columns. Additionally, since this is a diploid population, each individual will have two rows of data. That is, the haplotype data for the first individual in genos, named “HG00096”, is stored in rows 1 and 2 of haplotypes, the haplotype data for the second individual in genos, named “HG00097”, is stored in rows 3 and 4 of haplotypes, and so on.

# View haplotype data for the first 3 diploid individuals and first 5 SNVs
haplotypes[1:6, 1:5]
## 6 x 5 sparse Matrix of class "dgCMatrix"
##                  
## HG00096 . . . . .
## HG00096 . . . 1 .
## HG00097 . . . 1 .
## HG00097 . . . 1 .
## HG00099 . . . . .
## HG00099 . . . . .

From the output above we see that haplotypes is a sparse matrix of class dgCMatrix. Entries of 1 represent the alternate or mutated allele, while the reference allele or wild type allele is represented as ‘.’. For additional information regarding objects of class dgCMatrix execute help("dgCMatrix-class") in the console.

3.2.3 Format Mutation Data

We now demonstrate how to manipulate the fixed data contained in the vcfR object. Recall, that the fixed data is stored in the @fix slot of the vcfR object and is used to describe the SNVs in the genotype data.

# View the first two rows of the fixed data
[email protected][1:2, ]
##      CHROM POS        ID REF ALT QUAL FILTER
## [1,] "21"  "13349301" NA "T" "C" NA   "PASS"
## [2,] "21"  "13349303" NA "G" "A" NA   "PASS"
##      INFO                                                                                               
## [1,] "AC=2;AN=5096;DP=219605;AF=0;EAS_AF=0;EUR_AF=0;AFR_AF=0;AMR_AF=0;SAS_AF=0;EX_TARGET;VT=SNP;NS=2548"
## [2,] "AC=1;AN=5096;DP=219794;AF=0;EAS_AF=0;EUR_AF=0;AFR_AF=0;AMR_AF=0;SAS_AF=0;EX_TARGET;VT=SNP;NS=2548"

From the output above, we see that the fixed data contains several variables. When the supplied data is restricted to SNVs the variables above are interpreted as follows:

  1. CHROM is the chromosome number of the SNV
  2. POS is the position, in base pairs, of the SNV
  3. ID, when available, is a unique identifier for the SNV, e.g. an rs number for a dbSNP.
  4. REF is the reference allele for the SNV
  5. ALT is the alternate allele for the SNV
  6. QUAL, when available, is a quality score for the SNV
  7. FILTER indicates whether or not the site has passed all filters. When passing all filters FILTER = PASS, otherwise FILTER is a character string which contains all non-passing filters.
  8. INFO contains additional information for each SNV. Each variable in INFO is separated by a semicolon.

For additional information regarding fixed data variable definitions please see https://www.internationalgenome.org/wiki/Analysis/vcf4.0/.

Descriptions for the semi-colon separated variables in INFO field are contained in the metadata of the vcf object. Meta data in vcfR objects is stored in the @meta slot and can be viewed by executing the following command.

# View the meta data
[email protected]
##  [1] "##fileformat=VCFv4.3"                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            
##  [2] "##FILTER=<ID=PASS,Description=\"All filters passed\">"                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           
##  [3] "##fileDate=27022019_15h52m43s"                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   
##  [4] "##source=IGSRpipeline"                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           
##  [5] "##reference=ftp://ftp.1000genomes.ebi.ac.uk/vol1/ftp/technical/reference/GRCh38_reference_genome/GRCh38_full_analysis_set_plus_decoy_hla.fa"                                                                                                                                                     
##  [6] "##FORMAT=<ID=GT,Number=1,Type=String,Description=\"Phased Genotype\">"                                                                                                                                                                                                                           
##  [7] "##contig=<ID=21>"                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                
##  [8] "##INFO=<ID=AF,Number=A,Type=Float,Description=\"Estimated allele frequency in the range (0,1)\">"                                                                                                                                                                                                
##  [9] "##INFO=<ID=AC,Number=A,Type=Integer,Description=\"Total number of alternate alleles in called genotypes\">"                                                                                                                                                                                      
## [10] "##INFO=<ID=NS,Number=1,Type=Integer,Description=\"Number of samples with data\">"                                                                                                                                                                                                                
## [11] "##INFO=<ID=AN,Number=1,Type=Integer,Description=\"Total number of alleles in called genotypes\">"                                                                                                                                                                                                
## [12] "##INFO=<ID=EAS_AF,Number=A,Type=Float,Description=\"Allele frequency in the EAS populations calculated from AC and AN, in the range (0,1)\">"                                                                                                                                                    
## [13] "##INFO=<ID=EUR_AF,Number=A,Type=Float,Description=\"Allele frequency in the EUR populations calculated from AC and AN, in the range (0,1)\">"                                                                                                                                                    
## [14] "##INFO=<ID=AFR_AF,Number=A,Type=Float,Description=\"Allele frequency in the AFR populations calculated from AC and AN, in the range (0,1)\">"                                                                                                                                                    
## [15] "##INFO=<ID=AMR_AF,Number=A,Type=Float,Description=\"Allele frequency in the AMR populations calculated from AC and AN, in the range (0,1)\">"                                                                                                                                                    
## [16] "##INFO=<ID=SAS_AF,Number=A,Type=Float,Description=\"Allele frequency in the SAS populations calculated from AC and AN, in the range (0,1)\">"                                                                                                                                                    
## [17] "##INFO=<ID=VT,Number=.,Type=String,Description=\"indicates what type of variant the line represents\">"                                                                                                                                                                                          
## [18] "##INFO=<ID=EX_TARGET,Number=0,Type=Flag,Description=\"indicates whether a variant is within the exon pull down target boundaries\">"                                                                                                                                                             
## [19] "##INFO=<ID=DP,Number=1,Type=Integer,Description=\"Approximate read depth; some reads may have been filtered\">"                                                                                                                                                                                  
## [20] "##bcftools_viewVersion=1.9-162-g33ecfe8+htslib-1.9-150-gc76b3b2"                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 
## [21] "##bcftools_viewCommand=view --regions-file 1KG.exons.merged.bed --types snps --min-alleles 2 --max-alleles 2 --include FILTER=\"PASS\" --output-type z --output-file exons_chr21.vcf.gz ALL.chr21.shapeit2_integrated_snvindels_v2a_27022019.GRCh38.phased.vcf.gz; Date=Mon Jun  3 14:54:02 2019"

From the output above, we see that the first description for an INFO field variable can be found in the eighth item of @meta.

# View the eight item in the meta data
[email protected][[8]]
## [1] "##INFO=<ID=AF,Number=A,Type=Float,Description=\"Estimated allele frequency in the range (0,1)\">"

The description above indicates that AF is a float variable which represents the estimated alternate allele frequency.

The information contained in the INFO field is valuable; however, its current semi-colon separated format is undesirable. The vcfR package’s vcfR2tidy function can be used to improve the format of the fixed data, including the INFO field. We now demonstrate how to use vcfR2tidy to format the fixed data for this example. For additional information on the vcfR2tidy function please execute help(vcfR2tidy) in the console.

# Extract and store the mutation data using vcfR2tidy
#
# NOTE: setting info_only = TRUE since we do not need to re-process the genotype data
#
# To include INFO variables, we supply a list of variable names to "info_fields".  The 
# names of these variables must corresponds with the INFO variable names defined in the 
# meta data. We specify each variable type, by variable name, using the "info_types" 
# argument.  Each INFO variable type is available in the meta data. Note that the info 
# types for float varibles are set to numeric, i.e. "n".

muts <- vcfR2tidy(vcf_chrom21, 
                  info_only = TRUE,
                  info_fields = c("AF", "AC", "NS", "AN",
                                  "EAS_AF", "EUR_AF", "AFR_AF", 
                                  "AMR_AF", "SAS_AF", "DP"),
                  info_types = c(AF = "n", AC = "i", NS = "i", AN = "i",
                                 EAS_AF = "n", EUR_AF = "n", AFR_AF = "n", 
                                 AMR_AF = "n", SAS_AF = "n", DP = "i"))

# View a summary of the output
summary(muts)
##      Length Class  Mode
## fix  17     tbl_df list
## meta  5     tbl_df list

From the output above, we see that vcfR2tidy returns two items named fix and meta. The information we require is contained in the first item named fix.

# View fix (contained in output named muts)
muts$fix
## # A tibble: 15,524 x 17
##    CHROM    POS ID    REF   ALT    QUAL FILTER    AF    AC    NS    AN
##    <chr>  <int> <chr> <chr> <chr> <dbl> <chr>  <dbl> <int> <int> <int>
##  1 21    1.33e7 <NA>  T     C        NA PASS    0        2  2548  5096
##  2 21    1.33e7 <NA>  G     A        NA PASS    0        1  2548  5096
##  3 21    1.33e7 <NA>  A     G        NA PASS    0        1  2548  5096
##  4 21    1.35e7 <NA>  C     T        NA PASS    0.25  1297  2548  5096
##  5 21    1.39e7 <NA>  T     C        NA PASS    0        1  2548  5096
##  6 21    1.39e7 <NA>  T     G        NA PASS    0        6  2548  5096
##  7 21    1.39e7 <NA>  C     G        NA PASS    0        2  2548  5096
##  8 21    1.39e7 <NA>  T     A        NA PASS    0        6  2548  5096
##  9 21    1.39e7 <NA>  T     C        NA PASS    0        1  2548  5096
## 10 21    1.39e7 <NA>  A     G        NA PASS    0        3  2548  5096
## # ... with 15,514 more rows, and 6 more variables: EAS_AF <dbl>,
## #   EUR_AF <dbl>, AFR_AF <dbl>, AMR_AF <dbl>, SAS_AF <dbl>, DP <int>

From the output above, we see that the INFO variables are now neatly stored in their own columns.

# View the first three rows of the fixed data in muts
head(muts$fix, n = 3)
## # A tibble: 3 x 17
##   CHROM    POS ID    REF   ALT    QUAL FILTER    AF    AC    NS    AN
##   <chr>  <int> <chr> <chr> <chr> <dbl> <chr>  <dbl> <int> <int> <int>
## 1 21    1.33e7 <NA>  T     C        NA PASS       0     2  2548  5096
## 2 21    1.33e7 <NA>  G     A        NA PASS       0     1  2548  5096
## 3 21    1.33e7 <NA>  A     G        NA PASS       0     1  2548  5096
## # ... with 6 more variables: EAS_AF <dbl>, EUR_AF <dbl>, AFR_AF <dbl>,
## #   AMR_AF <dbl>, SAS_AF <dbl>, DP <int>

Notice that the alternate allele frequency, AF, is rounded to two decimal places. Users who prefer to retain more that 2 significant digits can re-calculate AF as the alternate allele count, i.e. AC, divided by the allele number values, i.e. AN. In this context, the allele number is the total number of samples with non-missing data at the specified marker. See http://www.internationalgenome.org/category/allele-frequency/ for additional information.

# Recalculate the alternate allele frequency
muts$fix$AF <- muts$fix$AC/muts$fix$AN

# View the first three rows of the fixed data in muts
head(muts$fix, n = 3)
## # A tibble: 3 x 17
##   CHROM    POS ID    REF   ALT    QUAL FILTER      AF    AC    NS    AN
##   <chr>  <int> <chr> <chr> <chr> <dbl> <chr>    <dbl> <int> <int> <int>
## 1 21    1.33e7 <NA>  T     C        NA PASS   3.92e-4     2  2548  5096
## 2 21    1.33e7 <NA>  G     A        NA PASS   1.96e-4     1  2548  5096
## 3 21    1.33e7 <NA>  A     G        NA PASS   1.96e-4     1  2548  5096
## # ... with 6 more variables: EAS_AF <dbl>, EUR_AF <dbl>, AFR_AF <dbl>,
## #   AMR_AF <dbl>, SAS_AF <dbl>, DP <int>

Our sim_RVstudy function expects mutation data to be formatted as a data frame. Additionally, mutation data supplied to sim_RVstudy must contain the following variables:

  1. colID: a numeric variable which associates the rows in the mutations data frame to the columns in the haplotypes matrix.
  2. chrom: represents the chromosome in which the SNV resides.
  3. position: represents the position of the SNV in base pairs.
  4. afreq: (Optional) the alternate allele frequency of the SNV.

From the previous discussion, we know that the fixed data returned by vcf2tidy contains the variables chrom, position, and afreq. To make the output from the vcf2tidy function compatible with the format expected for the sim_RVstudy function we make the following changes.

# store the fixed item in muts data as dataframe 
mutations <- as.data.frame(muts$fix)
# Create the variable colID to identify the column position of the mutation.
# NOTE: Since mutations are already in the correct order, we accomplish this task 
# using the seq function.  Since the mutations are stored in the columns of
# the haplotypes matrix we determine the length of our sequence as the number of 
# columns in haplotypes.
mutations$colID <- seq(1:dim(haplotypes)[2])

# View the first three rows of mutations
head(mutations, n = 3)
##   CHROM      POS   ID REF ALT QUAL FILTER           AF AC   NS   AN EAS_AF
## 1    21 13349301 <NA>   T   C   NA   PASS 0.0003924647  2 2548 5096      0
## 2    21 13349303 <NA>   G   A   NA   PASS 0.0001962323  1 2548 5096      0
## 3    21 13349361 <NA>   A   G   NA   PASS 0.0001962323  1 2548 5096      0
##   EUR_AF AFR_AF AMR_AF SAS_AF     DP colID
## 1      0      0      0      0 219605     1
## 2      0      0      0      0 219794     2
## 3      0      0      0      0 178290     3
# Rename columns for consistency with expected format. 
# "AF" should be renamed "afreq",
# "CHROM" should be renamed "chrom", 
# and "POS" should be renamed "position".
colnames(mutations)[c(1, 2, 8)] = c("chrom", "position", "afreq")

# View the first three rows of mutations
head(mutations, n = 3)
##   chrom position   ID REF ALT QUAL FILTER        afreq AC   NS   AN EAS_AF
## 1    21 13349301 <NA>   T   C   NA   PASS 0.0003924647  2 2548 5096      0
## 2    21 13349303 <NA>   G   A   NA   PASS 0.0001962323  1 2548 5096      0
## 3    21 13349361 <NA>   A   G   NA   PASS 0.0001962323  1 2548 5096      0
##   EUR_AF AFR_AF AMR_AF SAS_AF     DP colID
## 1      0      0      0      0 219605     1
## 2      0      0      0      0 219794     2
## 3      0      0      0      0 178290     3

3.2.4 Create an Object of Class SNVdata

The constructor function for objects of class SNVdata has three arguments:

  1. Haplotypes A sparse matrix of haplotype data, which contains the haplotypes for unrelated individuals representing the founder population.

  2. Mutations A data frame that catalogs the SNVs in the columns of the Haplotypes matrix. Mutations must include the following variables:

    • colID: a numeric variable which associates the rows in Mutations to the columns in Haplotypes.
    • chrom: represents the chromosomal in which the SNV resides.
    • position: represents the chromosomal position of the SNV in base pairs.
    • afreq: (Optional) the alternate allele frequency of the SNV.
  3. Samples (Optional) this argument allows users to provide data for the individuals whose haplotypes are stored in Haplotypes.

The sample data, which describes the individuals whose genotypes are contained in the vcf data for chromosome 21 (i.e. from sections 3.2.2 and 3.2.3), may be obtained as follows:

file_path <- "https://raw.githubusercontent.com/simrvprojects/1000-Genomes-Exon-Data/master/Vignette%20Data/SampleInfo1.csv"
SampleInfo <- read.csv(file_path)
# View the first 6 lines of the sample data
head(SampleInfo)
##    Sample Family.ID Population          Population.Description Gender
## 1 HG00096   HG00096        GBR British in England and Scotland   male
## 2 HG00097   HG00097        GBR British in England and Scotland female
## 3 HG00098   HG00098        GBR British in England and Scotland   male
## 4 HG00099   HG00099        GBR British in England and Scotland female
## 5 HG00100   HG00100        GBR British in England and Scotland female
## 6 HG00101   HG00101        GBR British in England and Scotland   male
##   Relationship Unexpected.Parent.Child Non.Paternity Siblings Grandparents
## 1                                                                         
## 2                                                                         
## 3                                                                         
## 4                                                                         
## 5                                                                         
## 6                                                                         
##   Avuncular Half.Siblings Unknown.Second.Order Third.Order Other.Comments
## 1                                                                      NA
## 2                                                                      NA
## 3                                                                      NA
## 4                                                                      NA
## 5                                                                      NA
## 6                                                                      NA

From the output above, we see that SampleInfo describes the individuals contained in the vcf file. For each individual, the cataloged information includes population descriptions as well as information on any relations that are included in this data set. We caution users against using haplotype data that includes related individuals as this may result in cryptic relatedness among pedigree founders. To avoid this, we must remove any relatives from the founder haplotype data. The SampleInfo data set includes 42 individuals who have been listed as third order or higher relatives. We reduced SampleInfo by randomly sampling one relative from each set of related individuals. This resulted in the removal of 22 individuals. Additionally, we removed any individuals from the SampleInfo whose genotypes were not contained in the vcf data. This resulted in the removal of additional 930 individuals. Users interested in following the sample-reduction process may find our script at: https://github.com/simrvprojects/SimRVSequences/blob/master/data-raw/format_sample_data.R.

To import the reduced sample data, we execute the following commands:

file_path <- 'https://raw.githubusercontent.com/simrvprojects/1000-Genomes-Exon-Data/master/Formatted-SNVdata/SampleData.csv'
SampleData <- read.csv(file_path)

# view the first 6 lines of SampleData
head(SampleData)
##    Sample Population          Population.Description Gender
## 1 HG00096        GBR British in England and Scotland   male
## 2 HG00097        GBR British in England and Scotland female
## 3 HG00099        GBR British in England and Scotland female
## 4 HG00100        GBR British in England and Scotland female
## 5 HG00101        GBR British in England and Scotland   male
## 6 HG00102        GBR British in England and Scotland female

Next, we must reduce the haplotype data to include only the individuals who are contained in SampleData. We achieve this as follows:

# View dimensions of haplotypes
dim(haplotypes)
## [1]  5096 15524

From the output above, we see that haplotypes contains 5096 haplotypes spanning 15,524 SNVs. Since these are the haplotypes of diploid organisms this matrix contains data for 2048 individuals.

# Recall that the row names in the haplotypes matrix are the sample IDs
row.names(haplotypes)[1:5]
## [1] "HG00096" "HG00096" "HG00097" "HG00097" "HG00099"
# Reduce the haplotype data to contain the 
# unrelated individuals described in SampleData 
haplotypes <- haplotypes[row.names(haplotypes) %in% SampleData$Sample, ]

# View the new dimensions of haplotypes
dim(haplotypes)
## [1]  5052 15524

Comparing the new dimensions to the original dimensions, we see that 44 rows have been removed, which corresponds to the removal of 22 diploid individuals.

Finally, we are ready to create an object of class SNVdata. To create this object we supply the required arguments to the SNVdata constructor function as follows.

# create SNVdata object for chromosome 21 without sample or meta data
SNVdata_chrom21 <- SNVdata(Haplotypes = haplotypes, 
                           Mutations = mutations,
                           Samples = SampleData)
str(SNVdata_chrom21)
## List of 3
##  $ Haplotypes:Formal class 'dgCMatrix' [package "Matrix"] with 6 slots
##   .. [email protected] i       : int [1:1452481] 2122 2821 282 1334 1 2 3 9 10 11 ...
##   .. [email protected] p       : int [1:15525] 0 2 3 4 1293 1294 1299 1301 1307 1308 ...
##   .. [email protected] Dim     : int [1:2] 5052 15524
##   .. [email protected] Dimnames:List of 2
##   .. .. ..$ : chr [1:5052] "HG00096" "HG00096" "HG00097" "HG00097" ...
##   .. .. ..$ : NULL
##   .. [email protected] x       : num [1:1452481] 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 ...
##   .. [email protected] factors : list()
##  $ Mutations :'data.frame':  15524 obs. of  19 variables:
##   ..$ chrom   : chr [1:15524] "21" "21" "21" "21" ...
##   ..$ position: int [1:15524] 13349301 13349303 13349361 13544860 13939343 13939374 13939380 13939405 13939410 13939453 ...
##   ..$ ID      : chr [1:15524] NA NA NA NA ...
##   ..$ REF     : chr [1:15524] "T" "G" "A" "C" ...
##   ..$ ALT     : chr [1:15524] "C" "A" "G" "T" ...
##   ..$ QUAL    : num [1:15524] NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA ...
##   ..$ FILTER  : chr [1:15524] "PASS" "PASS" "PASS" "PASS" ...
##   ..$ afreq   : num [1:15524] 0.000392 0.000196 0.000196 0.254513 0.000196 ...
##   ..$ AC      : int [1:15524] 2 1 1 1297 1 6 2 6 1 3 ...
##   ..$ NS      : int [1:15524] 2548 2548 2548 2548 2548 2548 2548 2548 2548 2548 ...
##   ..$ AN      : int [1:15524] 5096 5096 5096 5096 5096 5096 5096 5096 5096 5096 ...
##   ..$ EAS_AF  : num [1:15524] 0 0 0 0.3 0 0 0 0 0 0 ...
##   ..$ EUR_AF  : num [1:15524] 0 0 0 0.35 0 0 0 0 0 0 ...
##   ..$ AFR_AF  : num [1:15524] 0 0 0 0.13 0 0 0 0 0 0 ...
##   ..$ AMR_AF  : num [1:15524] 0 0 0 0.24 0 0 0 0 0 0 ...
##   ..$ SAS_AF  : num [1:15524] 0 0 0 0.28 0 0 0 0.01 0 0 ...
##   ..$ DP      : int [1:15524] 219605 219794 178290 375437 100283 106811 106028 111046 109940 86510 ...
##   ..$ colID   : int [1:15524] 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 ...
##   ..$ marker  : chr [1:15524] "21_13349301" "21_13349303" "21_13349361" "21_13544860" ...
##  $ Samples   :'data.frame':  2526 obs. of  4 variables:
##   ..$ Sample                : Factor w/ 2526 levels "HG00096","HG00097",..: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 ...
##   ..$ Population            : Factor w/ 26 levels "ACB","ASW","BEB",..: 11 11 11 11 11 11 11 11 11 11 ...
##   ..$ Population.Description: Factor w/ 26 levels "African Ancestry in Southwest US",..: 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 ...
##   ..$ Gender                : Factor w/ 2 levels "female","male": 2 1 1 1 2 1 2 1 2 1 ...
##  - attr(*, "class")= chr [1:2] "SNVdata" "list"

We note that SNVdata objects can be much smaller than the original vcfR objects for the same data set. To determine the size of each of these objects we use the object_size function from the pryr package.

library(pryr)

# Determine size of vcfR object for chromosome 21
object_size(vcf_chrom21)
## 321 MB
# Determine size of SNVdata object for chromosome 21
object_size(SNVdata_chrom21)
## 20.7 MB

We note that while the size reduction between the vcfR and SNVdata object for this chromosome is quite drastic, the size of the SNVdata object is very similar to the size of the zipped vcf file for chromosome 21. Even so, this format may be very useful for large, sparse, genomic data sets in R.

3.3 Option 3: Import Pre-Formatted 1000 Genomes Project Exon-Data

For ease of use, SimRVSequences provides pre-formatted exon-data from the 1000 Genomes Project [1]. The load_1KG function allows users to load the formatted exon data by chromosome. The load_1KG function has two arguments:

  1. chrom A number or list of numbers of chromosomes to load. We note that since SimRVSequences only simulated sequence data for non-sex chromosomes load_1KG cannot be used to import data from chromosomes X or Y.
  2. pathway_df (Optional) A data frame that contains the positions for each exon in a pathway of interest. This data frame must contain the variables chrom, exonStart, and exonEnd. We expect that pathwayDF does not contain any overlapping segments. Users may combine overlapping exons into a single observation with our combine_exons function. For additional information regarding the combine_exons function please execute help(combine_exons) in the console.
# load the hg_apopPath dataset
data("hg_apopPath")

# import SNV data for chromosomes 21 and 22 and identify SNVs located in the 
# pathway defined by hg_apopPath 
EXdata = load_1KG(chrom = 21:22, 
                        pathway_df = hg_apopPath)

# determine the structure of EXdata
str(EXdata)
## List of 3
##  $ Haplotypes:Formal class 'dgCMatrix' [package "Matrix"] with 6 slots
##   .. [email protected] i       : int [1:4217953] 2122 2821 282 1334 1 2 3 9 10 11 ...
##   .. [email protected] p       : int [1:49526] 0 2 3 4 1293 1294 1299 1301 1307 1308 ...
##   .. [email protected] Dim     : int [1:2] 5052 49525
##   .. [email protected] Dimnames:List of 2
##   .. .. ..$ : chr [1:5052] "HG00096" "HG00096" "HG00097" "HG00097" ...
##   .. .. ..$ : NULL
##   .. [email protected] x       : num [1:4217953] 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 ...
##   .. [email protected] factors : list()
##  $ Mutations :'data.frame':  49525 obs. of  18 variables:
##   ..$ colID     : int [1:49525] 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 ...
##   ..$ chrom     : int [1:49525] 21 21 21 21 21 21 21 21 21 21 ...
##   ..$ position  : int [1:49525] 13349301 13349303 13349361 13544860 13939343 13939374 13939380 13939405 13939410 13939453 ...
##   ..$ REF       : chr [1:49525] "T" "G" "A" "C" ...
##   ..$ ALT       : chr [1:49525] "C" "A" "G" "T" ...
##   ..$ FILTER    : chr [1:49525] "PASS" "PASS" "PASS" "PASS" ...
##   ..$ afreq     : num [1:49525] 0.000392 0.000196 0.000196 0.254513 0.000196 ...
##   ..$ AC        : int [1:49525] 2 1 1 1297 1 6 2 6 1 3 ...
##   ..$ NS        : int [1:49525] 2548 2548 2548 2548 2548 2548 2548 2548 2548 2548 ...
##   ..$ AN        : int [1:49525] 5096 5096 5096 5096 5096 5096 5096 5096 5096 5096 ...
##   ..$ EAS_AF    : num [1:49525] 0 0 0 0.3 0 0 0 0 0 0 ...
##   ..$ EUR_AF    : num [1:49525] 0 0 0 0.35 0 0 0 0 0 0 ...
##   ..$ AFR_AF    : num [1:49525] 0 0 0 0.13 0 0 0 0 0 0 ...
##   ..$ AMR_AF    : num [1:49525] 0 0 0 0.24 0 0 0 0 0 0 ...
##   ..$ SAS_AF    : num [1:49525] 0 0 0 0.28 0 0 0 0.01 0 0 ...
##   ..$ DP        : int [1:49525] 219605 219794 178290 375437 100283 106811 106028 111046 109940 86510 ...
##   ..$ marker    : chr [1:49525] "21_13349301" "21_13349303" "21_13349361" "21_13544860" ...
##   ..$ pathwaySNV: logi [1:49525] FALSE FALSE FALSE FALSE FALSE FALSE ...
##  $ Samples   :'data.frame':  2526 obs. of  4 variables:
##   ..$ Sample                : chr [1:2526] "HG00096" "HG00097" "HG00099" "HG00100" ...
##   ..$ Population            : chr [1:2526] "GBR" "GBR" "GBR" "GBR" ...
##   ..$ Population.Description: chr [1:2526] "British in England and Scotland" "British in England and Scotland" "British in England and Scotland" "British in England and Scotland" ...
##   ..$ Gender                : chr [1:2526] "male" "female" "female" "female" ...
##  - attr(*, "class")= chr [1:2] "SNVdata" "list"

Note that any SNVs in the pathway contained in the hg_apopPath data will be identified by the variable pathwaySNV in the Mutations data frame of EXdata.

# View the first 6 SNVs contained in the pathway of interest
head(EXdata$Mutations[EXdata$Mutations$pathwaySNV, ])
##      colID chrom position REF ALT FILTER        afreq AC   NS   AN EAS_AF
## 3500  3412    21 33325047   G   A   PASS 0.0001962323  1 2548 5096      0
## 3501  3413    21 33325055   G   A   PASS 0.0001962323  1 2548 5096      0
## 3505  3417    21 33335562   G   A   PASS 0.0001962323  1 2548 5096      0
## 3506  3418    21 33335577   A   C   PASS 0.0001962323  1 2548 5096      0
## 3507  3419    21 33335578   A   G   PASS 0.0003924647  2 2548 5096      0
## 3508  3420    21 33335604   G   A   PASS 0.0003924647  2 2548 5096      0
##      EUR_AF AFR_AF AMR_AF SAS_AF     DP      marker pathwaySNV
## 3500      0      0      0      0 120758 21_33325047       TRUE
## 3501      0      0      0      0 120822 21_33325055       TRUE
## 3505      0      0      0      0 338954 21_33335562       TRUE
## 3506      0      0      0      0 357644 21_33335577       TRUE
## 3507      0      0      0      0 358184 21_33335578       TRUE
## 3508      0      0      0      0 378199 21_33335604       TRUE

3.4 Select Pool of Causal Variants

Our next task is to decide which mutations will be modeled as causal variants. We will focus on a pathway approach, which allows for causal variation in a pathway, or a set of related genes. This approach may also be used to model families which segregate different rare variants in the same gene. Furthermore, we note that implementation of a single causal variant is equivalent to a pathway containing a single gene with a single mutation.

For SimRVpedigree’s ascertainment process to be valid we require that the probability that a random individual carries a risk allele is small, i.e \(\le\) 0.002 [11]. Consider a set of \(n\) causal SNVs with alternate allele frequencies \(p_1, p_2, ..., p_n\), and let \(p_{tot} = \sum_{i=1}^n p_i\). For sufficiently rare SNVs, we may compute the cumulative carrier probability as \(p_{tot}^2 + 2*p_{tot}(1-p_{tot})\). To satisfy the condition \(p_{carrier} \le 0.002\), we require that \(1 - (1 - p_{tot})^2 \le 0.002\), or that \(p_{tot} \le 0.001\).

We now demonstrate how users may create a new variable that identifies causal SNVs using the EXmuts data set from section 3.1.2.

# Recall that the variable pathwaySNV, which was created in section 3.2, is TRUE for 
# any SNVs in the pathway of interest. Here we tabulate the alternate allele frequencies 
# of the SNVs located in our pathway.
table(EXmuts$afreq[EXmuts$pathwaySNV == TRUE])
## 
##   5e-05   1e-04 0.00015   2e-04 0.00035   4e-04 0.00045   5e-04 0.00055 
##      12       4       6       1       1       1       1       1       1 
## 0.00065   7e-04 0.00075   8e-04   9e-04 0.00095   0.001 0.00125  0.0014 
##       1       1       1       1       2       1       1       1       1 
## 0.00145 0.00165   0.002 0.00205  0.0021 0.00365 0.00505 0.00515  0.0052 
##       1       1       1       1       1       1       1       1       1 
## 0.00585 0.00635 0.00925 
##       1       1       1

The output above tabulates variants in our pathway by their alternate allele frequencies. For example, our pathway contains 12 SNVs with alternate allele frequency 5e-05, 4 SNVs with alternate allele frequency 1e-04, 6 SNVs with alternate allele frequency 0.00015, and so on.

To obtain a pool of variants with \(p_{tot} \sim 0.001\), let’s choose the 12 SNVs with alternate allele frequency 5e-05, and 4 SNVs with alternate allele frequency 1e-4 to be our causal SNVs, so that \(p_{tot} = 12(5\times10^{-5}) + 4(1\times10^{-4}) = 0.001\).

# Create the variable 'is_CRV', which is TRUE for SNVs in our pathway with alternate 
# allele frequency 5e-05 or 1e-04, and FALSE otherwise
EXmuts$is_CRV <- EXmuts$pathwaySNV & EXmuts$afreq %in% c(5e-5, 1e-04)

# verify that sum of the alternate allele frequencies of causal SNVs is 0.001
sum(EXmuts$afreq[EXmuts$is_CRV])
## [1] 0.001
# determine the number of variants in our pool of causal variants
sum(EXmuts$is_CRV)
## [1] 16

From the output above we see that we have selected a pool of 16 causal variants from our pathway with a cumulative allele frequency of 0.001.

# view first 4 observations of EXmuts
head(EXmuts, n = 4)
##   colID chrom position   afreq     marker pathwaySNV is_CRV
## 1     1     1  1731297 0.00875  1_1731297      FALSE  FALSE
## 2     2     1  3411725 0.00005  1_3411725      FALSE  FALSE
## 3     3     1  3468928 0.00050  1_3468928      FALSE  FALSE
## 4     4     1 21578402 0.00025 1_21578402      FALSE  FALSE

Observe from the output above that EXmuts now contains the variable is_CRV, which identifies potential causal rare variants. The sim_RVstudy function (discussed in section 5) samples a single causal variant for each family, according to its allele frequency in the population, from the SNVs for which is_CRV = TRUE. Hence, different families may segregate different causal rare variants. Upon identifying the familial cRV we then sample haplotypes for each founder from the distribution of haplotypes conditioned on the founder’s cRV status. This ensures that the cRV is introduced by the correct founder.

4 Prepare Pedigree Data

SimRVSequences can accept pedigree data from a variety of sources provided they are properly formatted. In this section we discuss two options for the supplied pedigree data. The first option is manual specification of the required pedigree fields, which is discussed in section 4.1. As an alternative to manual pedigree specification, we also note that our companion program, SimRVPedigree can simulate pedigrees. We briefly outline pedigree simulation with SimRVPedigree in section 4.2.

4.1 Option 1: Format Existing Pedigrees

To specify pedigrees users must specify the following variables for each pedigree member:

  1. FamID: family identification number
  2. ID: individual identification number
  3. sex: sex identification variable: sex = 0 for males, and sex = 1 females.
  4. dadID: identification number of father
  5. momID: identification number of mother
  6. affected: disease-affection status: affected = TRUE if individual has developed disease, and FALSE otherwise.
  7. DA1: paternally inherited allele at the cRV locus: DA1 = 1 if the cRV is inherited, and 0 otherwise.
  8. DA2: maternally inherited allele at the cRV locus: DA2 = 1 if the cRV is inherited, and 0 otherwise.

For example, consider the pedigree 314 in Figure 2 which contains 6 relatives. Since this pedigree contains 6 members in total we would specify the required FamID variable as follows:

# specify FamID variable
FamID = c(314, 314, 314, 314, 314, 314)

Notice that each relative in family 314 has a unique individual ID. From the information provided in Figure 2, we see that for this pedigree an appropriate specification the required ID variable is given by:

# specify ID variable
ID = c(1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6)

Now that we have specified FamID and ID we are ready to specify sex, dadID, momID, affected, DA1, and DA2. We note that these variables are specified for the individuals as they are listed in the ID field. Thus, the \(i^{th}\) item in sex should be the gender for the \(i^{th}\) individual in ID.

In Figure 2, males are represented as squares and females as circles. For example, the individual with ID 1 is a male, while the individual with ID 2 is a female. SimRvSequences expects that for males sex = 0 and for females sex = 1. Thus, for family 314, we specify the variable sex as follows:

# specify sex variable
sex = c(0, 1, 0, 1, 0, 1)

Figure 2: A pedigree with 6 members. In this pedigree, males are indicated by squares and females by circles. Parents are connected by a horizontal line and their offspring branch out below. Disease-affected relatives are shaded red and unaffected relatives are shaded white. Each individual in the pedgiree is labeled with a unique ID. Additionally, the individual’s phased genotype at the familial cRV locus is included below the individual’s ID number. In the supplied genotypes “1” indicates inheritance of the alternate allele, while “0” indicates inheritance of the reference (or wild type) allele.

The variables dadID and momID represent the identification numbers of an individual’s biological parents. Thus, the \(i^{th}\) item in dadID should be the ID of the \(i^{th}\) individual’s father. For example, the father of the individual with ID 3 is the individual with ID 1; therfore, when specifying the variable dadID we must ensure that dadID[3] = 1. Notice that some individuals in family 314 do not have a mother or afather. The individuals without any parents are known as “founders”, while those with both parents represented in the pedigree, e.g. ID 3, are known as "non-founders’. Since founders do not have parents, there is no dadID or momID to specify for these individuals. When this occurs, we specify NA in place of the missing parental identification numbers. We note that individuals MUST be classified as either founders (i.e. no parents) or non-founders (i.e. both parents). SimRVSequences will not accept pedigrees that contain partially identified parents, e.g. mother included but father missing. When pedigrees contain partially identified parents, we recommend creating a dummy parent in lieu of the missing parent.

# specify dadID variable
dadID = c(NA, NA, 1, 1, NA, 5)

# specify momID variable
momID = c(NA, NA, 2, 2, NA, 4)

In Figure 2, the disease-affected relatives are indicated by red shading (IDs 3, 4, and 6), while unaffected members are indicated by white shading (IDs 1, 2, and 5). In formatting the variable affected SimRVSequences expects affected = TRUE when individuals are affected by disease and affected = FALSE otherwise. Thus, for the pedigree in Figure 2, we define affected as follows:

# specify affected variable
affected = c(FALSE, FALSE, TRUE, TRUE, FALSE, TRUE)

Finally, we are ready to specify the last two variables for family 314: DA1 and DA2. The variables DA1 and DA2 represent the paternally and maternally inherited alleles at the familial cRV locus. We can determine the appropriate values of these variables from the genotypes provided in Figure 2. In this setting, the first item in the genotype is the paternally inherited allele and the second is the maternally inherited allele. For example, the genotype “1|0” for the individual with ID 4 indicates that she inherited the alternate allele from her father (ID 1) and the reference allele from her mother (ID 2). Thus, given the genotype information provided in Figure 2, we define the variables DA1 and DA2 as follows:

# specify dadID variable
DA1 = c(0, 0, 0, 1, 0, 1)

# specify momID variable
DA2 = c(1, 0, 0, 0, 1, 1)

SimRVSequences expects that pedigrees are objects of class data.frame; thus, for family 314 we combine the variables discussed previously, as follows:

# combine the required information for family 314 into a dataframe
fam314 <- data.frame(FamID = c(314, 314, 314, 314, 314, 314),
                     ID = c(1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6),
                     sex = c(0, 1, 0, 1, 0, 1),
                     dadID = c(NA, NA, 1, 1, NA, 5),
                     momID = c(NA, NA, 2, 2, NA, 4),
                     affected = c(FALSE, FALSE, TRUE, TRUE, FALSE, TRUE),
                     DA1 = c(0, 0, 0, 1, 0, 1),
                     DA2 = c(1, 0, 0, 0, 1, 1))

We note that when the variables DA and DA2 above are omitted, SimRVSequences will assume that no-member of the pedigree is a carrier at the familial cRV locus and set DA = 0 and DA2 = 0 for all pedigree members.

4.2 Option 2: Simulate Pedigrees with SimRVPedigree

The R package SimRVPedigree [10] may be used to simulate pedigrees ascertained for multiple disease-affected relatives. The following example demonstrates how users could use SimRVPedigree to simulate five pedigrees ascertained for three or more disease-affected relatives in parallel with the doParallel[9] and doRNG[3] packages.

# load the SimRVPedigree library
library(SimRVPedigree)

# Create hazard object from AgeSpecific_Hazards data
data(AgeSpecific_Hazards)
my_HR = hazard(AgeSpecific_Hazards)

# load libraries needed to simulate pedigrees in parallel.
library(doParallel)
library(doRNG)

npeds <- 5    #set the number of pedigrees to generate

cl <- makeCluster(2)   # create cluster
registerDoParallel(cl) # register cluster


# simulate a sample of five pedigrees using foreach
study_peds = foreach(i = seq(npeds), .combine = rbind,
                  .packages = c("SimRVPedigree"),
                  .options.RNG = 844090518
) %dorng% {
  # Simulate pedigrees ascertained for at least three disease-affected individuals,
  # according to the age-specific hazard rates in the `AgeSpecific_Hazards` data
  # set, ascertained from 1980 to 2010, with start year spanning
  # from 1900 to 1920, stop year set to 2018, and with genetic relative-risk 50.
  sim_RVped(hazard_rates = my_HR,
            GRR = 50, FamID = i,
            RVfounder = TRUE,
            founder_byears = c(1900, 1920),
            ascertain_span = c(1980, 2010),
            stop_year = 2018,
            recall_probs = c(1, 0.5, 0),
            num_affected = 3)[[2]]}

stopCluster(cl) #shut down cluster

For the purpose of demonstration, we will use the study_peds data set provided by SimRVSequences.

# import study peds
data("study_peds")

# Plot the pedigree with FamID 3
plot(study_peds[study_peds$FamID == 3, ],
     ref_year = 2018)

According to the legend, disease-affected individuals (IDs 1, 3, 8, and 21) are indicated by a solid shading in the upper-left third of their symbol. The proband (ID 21) is indicated by shading in the lower portion of his symbol. Individuals who have inherited the cRV (IDs 1, 3, 5, 6, 7, 8, 21 and 42) are indicated by shading in the upper-right portion of their symbol.

The seed founder (ID 1) and all of his descendants have age data relative to the reference year, which is displayed below their symbols. If a descendant has died by the reference year (IDs 1, 3, 5, 6, etc.) their year of birth and death are displayed in parentheses, and their symbol will have a diagonal line over it. Descendants who are still alive at the reference year have an age identifier. Descendants who have experienced disease-onset by the reference year will have a disease-onset age identifier.

# View the first 4 rows of study_peds
head(study_peds, n = 4)
##   FamID ID sex dadID momID affected DA1 DA2 birthYr onsetYr deathYr RR
## 1     1  1   1    NA    NA     TRUE   1   0    1902    1985    1987 50
## 2     1  2   0    NA    NA    FALSE   0   0      NA      NA      NA  1
## 3     1  3   0     2     1    FALSE   0   1    1922      NA    1942 50
## 4     1  4   1     2     1     TRUE   0   1    1925    1991    1991 50
##   available Gen proband
## 1      TRUE   1   FALSE
## 2     FALSE   1   FALSE
## 3      TRUE   2   FALSE
## 4      TRUE   2    TRUE

The columns displayed in the output above are described as follows:

  1. FamID: family identification number
  2. ID: individual identification number
  3. sex: sex identification variable: sex = 0 for males, and sex = 1 females.
  4. dadID: identification number of father
  5. momID: identification number of mother
  6. affected: disease-affection status: affected = TRUE if individual has developed disease, and FALSE otherwise.
  7. DA1: paternally inherited allele at the cRV locus: DA1 = 1 if the cRV is inherited, and 0 otherwise.
  8. DA2: maternally inherited allele at the cRV locus: DA2 = 1 if the cRV is inherited, and 0 otherwise.
  9. birthYr: the individual’s birth year.
  10. onsetYr: the individual’s year of disease onset, when applicable, and NA otherwise.
  11. deathYr: the individual’s year of death, when applicable, and NA otherwise.
  12. RR: the individual’s relative-risk of disease.
  13. available: availability status: available = TRUE if individual is recalled by the proband, and FALSE if not recalled or a marry-in.
  14. Gen: the individual’s generation number relative to the eldest pedigree founder. That is, the seed founder will have Gen = 1, his or her offspring will have Gen = 2, etc.
  15. proband: a proband identifier: proband = TRUE if the individual is the proband, and FALSE otherwise. In this context, the proband is defined to be the first person known in the pedigree. Presumably, this person is identified at ot near onset of their disease and through this person we learn about the other disease-affected relatives in the pedigree.

Not all of the variables above are required to simulate SNV data; the required variables are: FamID, ID, sex, dadID, momID, affected, DA1, and DA2. Please note, if DA1 and DA2 are not provided, the pedigree is assumed to be fully-sporadic, i.e. DA1 = DA2 = 0 for all members.

To learn more about simulating ascertained pedigrees with SimRVPedigree please refer to SimRVPedigree’s documentation and vignette https://CRAN.R-project.org/package=SimRVPedigree. Additional information regarding the model employed by SimRVPedigree may be found at https://scfbm.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s13029-018-0069-6.

5 Simulate SNV data for Pedigrees

Simulation of sequence data for pedigrees is accomplished with the sim_RVstudy function. We will illustrate the usage of this function in section 5.1. The sim_RVstudy function returns an object of class famStudy. In section 5.2 we discuss objects class famStudy in detail. Finally, in section 5.3 we demonstrate the usage and output of the summary function for objects of class famStudy.

5.1 The sim_RVstudy function

Simulating SNV data for a sample of pedigrees is achieved with our sim_RVstudy function. This function has the following required and optional arguments:

Required Arguments:

  1. ped_files A data frame of pedigrees. This data frame must contain the variables: FamID, ID, sex, dadID, momID, affected, DA1, and DA2. If DA1 and DA2 are not provided we assume the pedigrees are fully sporadic. See section 4 for additional details regarding these variables.
  2. SNV_data An object of class SNVdata. See section 3.2.4 for more information on objects of class SNVdata or execute help(SNVdata) in the console.

Optional Arguments:

  1. affected_only A logical argument. When affected_only = TRUE, we only simulate SNV data for the affected individuals and the family members that connect them along a line of descent. When affected_only = FALSE, SNV data is simulated for the entire pedigree. By default, affected_only = TRUE.
  2. remove_wild A logical argument that determines if SNVs not carried by any member of the study should be removed from the data. By default, remove_wild = TRUE.
  3. pos_in_bp A logical argument which indicates if the positions in SNV_map are listed in base pairs. By default, pos_in_bp = TRUE. If the positions in SNV_map are listed in centiMorgans set pos_in_bp = FALSE instead.
  4. gamma_params The respective shape and rate parameters of the gamma distribution used to simulate the distance between chiasmata. By default, gamma_params = c(2.63, 2*2.63), as in [13].
  5. burn_in The “burn-in” distance in centiMorgans, as defined by [13], which is required before simulating the location of the first chiasmata with interference. By default, burn_in = 1000.

We will demonstrate the usage of the sim_RVstudy using the EXhaps and EXmuts datasets that were discussed in sections 3.1 and 3.3. Notice that the sim_RVstudy function expects and object of class SNVdata. We construct this object from the EXmuts and EXhaps dataset as follows.

# construct an object of class SNVdata
ex_data <- SNVdata(Haplotypes = EXhaps,
                   Mutations = EXmuts)

Assuming readers have simulated pedigrees as in section 4, we may execute the sim_RVstudy function as follows.

set.seed(11956)

# simulate SNV data with sim_RVstudy
study_seq <- sim_RVstudy(ped_files = study_peds,
                         SNV_data = ex_data)


# determine the class of study seq
class(study_seq)
## [1] "famStudy" "list"

From the output above, we see that the sim_RVstudy function returns an object of class famStudy, which inherits from the list class. More specifically, a famStudy object is a list that contains the following four items:

  • a data frame named ped_files,
  • a sparse matrix named ped_haplos,
  • a data frame named haplo_map,
  • and a data frame named SNV_map.

We will discuss each of the four items contained in the famStudy object in the following section.

5.2 Objects of class famStudy

5.2.1 The ped_files data frame

The data frame ped_files contained in the famStudy object is a potentially reduced set of pedigree files for the original families. Recall that, by default affected_only = TRUE, so the pedigrees supplied to sim_RVstudy are reduced to contain only the affected individuals and the individuals who connect them along a line of descent.

# plot the pedigree returned by sim_RVseq for family 3.
# Since we used the affected_only option the pedigree has
# been reduced to contain only disease-affected relatives.
plot(study_seq$ped_files[study_seq$ped_files$FamID == 3, ],
     location = "bottomleft")

Comparing the plot above to the plot of the same family in section 4, we can see that the number of relatives for whom we simulate SNV data is far less than the total number of relatives in the original pedigree.

5.2.2 The ped_haplos matrix

Next, we look at the sparse matrix, ped_haplos, which is contained in the famStudy object. This sparse matrix contains simulated haplotype data.

# View the first 15 haplotypes in ped_haplos
study_seq$ped_haplos[1:15, ]
## 15 x 21 sparse Matrix of class "dgCMatrix"
##                                                
##  [1,] . . . 1 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
##  [2,] . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 . . . . .
##  [3,] . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
##  [4,] 1 . . . 1 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
##  [5,] 1 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
##  [6,] . . . 1 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
##  [7,] 1 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
##  [8,] . . . 1 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
##  [9,] 1 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
## [10,] . . . 1 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
## [11,] . 1 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 .
## [12,] . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
## [13,] . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
## [14,] . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 . . . .
## [15,] . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

The ped_haplos matrix contains the haplotype data for each individual in the ped_files output.

# Determine the dimensions of ped_haplos
dim(study_seq$ped_haplos)
## [1] 62 21
# Determine the dimensions of EXhaps
dim(EXhaps)
## [1] 20000   500

Notice that ped_haplos only has 24 columns (i.e. mutations) even though EXhaps, which was supplied to sim_RVstudy, has a total of 500 columns. This occurs when the remove_wild setting is used to remove superfluous SNVs from our data. That is, when no one in the study carries a mutated allele at an SNV locus, that marker is removed from the data. Since we are focused on rare variation, and since EXhaps and study_peds are small toy data sets the reduction in data is quite significant.

5.2.3 The SNV_map data frame

In this subsection we discuss the SNV_map data frame contained in the famStudy object. Recall that one of sim_RVstudy’s arguments is also named SNV_map. When the remove_wild argument of sim_RVstudy is set to FALSE, the data frame supplied to SNV_map will be returned unchanged. However, when remove_wild is set to TRUE, the SNV_map contained in the famStudy object will be a reduced data frame that contains only SNVs that are carried by at least one study participant.

# View the first 4 observations in SNV_map
head(study_seq$SNV_map, n = 4)
##   colID chrom  position   afreq      marker pathwaySNV is_CRV
## 1     1     1  45043357 0.00310  1_45043357      FALSE  FALSE
## 2     2     1 236599491 0.00895 1_236599491      FALSE  FALSE
## 3     3     2   3960458 0.00535   2_3960458      FALSE  FALSE
## 4     4     2 201284953 0.00010 2_201284953       TRUE   TRUE

The output SNV_map catalogs the SNVs, i.e. columns, in ped_haplos. For example, the first column in ped_haplos is a SNV located on chromosome 1 at position 45043357.

5.2.4 The haplo_map data frame

Next, we look at the haplo_map data frame contained in the famStudy object. The haplo_map data frame is used to map the haplotypes (i.e. rows) in ped_haplos to the individuals in ped_files.

# view the first observations in haplo_map
head(study_seq$haplo_map)
##   FamID ID affected      FamCRV
## 1     1  1     TRUE 2_201284953
## 2     1  1     TRUE 2_201284953
## 3     1  2    FALSE 2_201284953
## 4     1  2    FALSE 2_201284953
## 5     1  4     TRUE 2_201284953
## 6     1  4     TRUE 2_201284953

Notice that in the output above individual 1 from family 1 is listed in rows 1 and 2, and individual 2 from family 1 is listed in rows 3 and 4. This is because the genetic material inherited from each parent is stored in its own row. By convention, the first row represents the paternally inherited haplotype, while the second row represents the maternally inherited haplotype. Additionally, note the variable FamCRV contained in haplo_map, which identifies each family’s causal rare variant by marker name.

The following code demonstrates how to reduce haplo_map to quickly identify the cRV for each family.

# to quickly view the causal rare variant for 
# each family we supply the appropriate columns of 
# haplo_map to unique
unique(study_seq$haplo_map[, c("FamID", "FamCRV")])
##    FamID      FamCRV
## 1      1 2_201284953
## 11     2      no_CRV
## 19     3  8_23081797
## 33     4 2_201284953
## 41     5 10_89008915

From the output above, we see that families 1 and 4 segregate variant 2_201284953, family 2 does not segregate any SNV in the pool of causal rare variants, family 3 segregates variant 10_89016102, and family 5 segregates variant 10_89015798. Note that family 2 does not segregate any of the SNVs in our pool of causal rare variants because it is a fully sporadic pedigree; i.e. there is no genetic predisposition to disease in this pedigree.

5.3 The summary.famStudy function

To obtain summary information for the simulated sequence data we supply objects of class famStudy to the summary function. Recall that the output of the sim_RVstudy function is an object of class famStudy; hence, users may supply the output of sim_RVstudy directly to summary.

# supply the famStudy object, returned by 
# sim_RVstudy, to the summary function
study_summary <- summary(study_seq)

# determine the class of study_summary
class(study_summary)
## [1] "list"
# view the names of the items in study_summary
names(study_summary)
## [1] "fam_allele_count" "pathway_count"

From the output above, we see that when supplied an object of class famStudy the summary function returns a list containing two items: fam_allele_count and pathway_count. The item fam_allele_count is a matrix that includes counts of the SNVs shared among the disease-affected relatives in each pedigree.

# view fam_allele_count
study_summary$fam_allele_count
##      FamID 1_45043357 1_236599491 2_3960458 2_201284953 3_49154162
## [1,]     1          3           0         0           4          0
## [2,]     2          0           2         0           0          0
## [3,]     3          0           0         1           0          2
## [4,]     4          0           0         0           3          0
## [5,]     5          0           0         0           0          0
##      3_129583578 4_168989553 5_115614755 7_101314288 7_124822443
## [1,]           0           0           0           0           0
## [2,]           0           0           0           0           0
## [3,]           1           1           0           3           0
## [4,]           0           0           2           0           0
## [5,]           0           0           0           0           1
##      8_23081797 10_89008915 12_8946339 15_73325402 17_58007302 22_50460703
## [1,]          0           0          1           0           0           0
## [2,]          0           0          0           0           1           0
## [3,]          4           0          0           0           0           2
## [4,]          0           0          0           0           0           0
## [5,]          0           4          0           1           0           0

Looking at the output above, we see that 3 affected relative in family 1 carries a copy of the first SNV, 1_45043357. It is noteworthy that the disease-affected relative in families 1 and 4 carry so many copies of SNV 2_201284953; not surprisingly, this is the causal rare variant for these two families.

The item pathway_count is a data frame that catalogs the total number of SNVs observed in disease-affected study participants.

# view pathway_count
study_summary$pathway_count
##    chrom  position      marker total is_CRV pathwaySNV
## 1      1  45043357  1_45043357     3  FALSE      FALSE
## 2      1 236599491 1_236599491     2  FALSE      FALSE
## 3      2   3960458   2_3960458     1  FALSE      FALSE
## 4      2 201284953 2_201284953     7   TRUE       TRUE
## 6      3  49154162  3_49154162     2  FALSE      FALSE
## 7      3 129583578 3_129583578     1  FALSE      FALSE
## 9      4 168989553 4_168989553     1  FALSE      FALSE
## 11     5 115614755 5_115614755     2  FALSE      FALSE
## 12     7 101314288 7_101314288     3  FALSE      FALSE
## 13     7 124822443 7_124822443     1  FALSE      FALSE
## 14     8  23081797  8_23081797     4   TRUE       TRUE
## 15    10  89008915 10_89008915     4   TRUE       TRUE
## 16    12   8946339  12_8946339     1  FALSE      FALSE
## 18    15  73325402 15_73325402     1  FALSE      FALSE
## 20    17  58007302 17_58007302     1  FALSE      FALSE
## 21    22  50460703 22_50460703     2  FALSE      FALSE

From pathway_count, we see that there are several SNVs carried by more than 1 disease-affected study participants; however, only 5 of the SNVs carried by more than one individual reside in the pathway of interest.

6 SimRVSequences Model

In this section we describe the model assumptions employed by SimRVSequences to simulate single-nucleotide variant (SNV) data for pedigrees.

  1. Given a sample of pedigrees we allow families to segregate different rare variants, but assume that within a family genetic cases are due to a single, causal rare variant (cRV) that increases disease susceptibility. We assume that the cRV status of every pedigree member is known. The R package SimRVPedigree [10] may be used to simulate pedigrees that meet these criteria (see section 4).
  2. Recall that users are expected to specify a pool of cRVs which may represent cRVs located in a pathway, or different cRVs in the same gene. The size of the pool is entirely up to the user: it can contain many SNVs or only a single SNV. However, we urge those who are using SimRVPedigree in conjunction with SimRVSequences to choose cRVs so that the cumulative carrier probability is less than or equal to 0.002 [11]. From this pool we sample a single cRV for each pedigree with replacement.
  3. Founder haplotypes are sampled from a user-specified, population distribution of haplotypes, conditional on their genotype at the familial disease-locus.
    • If a founder introduces a cRV we sample a haplotype, or two haplotypes if the founder is homozygous for the alternate allele, from the haplotypes that carry the familial cRV.
    • If a founder does NOT introduce a cRV we sample their haplotypes from the haplotypes that do not carry ANY of the cRVs in our pool. Hence, fully sporadic families will not segregate any cRVs.
  4. We use a conditional gene-drop algorithm to model inheritance from parent to offspring, which can be described as follows.

Figure 3: A family trio with possible maternal and paternal recombinant chromatids for a diploid organism with a single set of homologous chromosomes. The cRV locus is indicated by a dashed vertical line over the chromatids, and the cRV is indicated by a black vertical bar within the chromatids. The top two chromatids of the father contain the only copies of the cRV.

We use these assumptions in our algorithm to simulate sequence data for pedigrees (see introduction.)

7 Method Overview

The methods provided by SimRVSequences are described as follows.

8 Timing

All of the following timing estimates were performed on a Windows OS with an i7-4790 @ 3.60GHz and 12 GB of RAM.

Importing genome-wide, exon-only SNV data for 10,000 diploid individuals from the .txt file produced by SLiM’s outputfull() method, using the read_slim function required approximately 4 minutes. The imported data originally contained a total of 306,825 SNVs over 20,000 haplotypes.

The following timings were performed on a sample of 100 pedigrees, each of which contained at least 3 relatives affected by a lymphoid cancer. To simulate these pedigrees we used the same settings as in the parallel processing example of section 4. For timing, we used genome-wide, exon-only SNV data for 10,000 diploid individuals simulated by SLiM. After reducing the SLiM data to contain SNVs with alternate allele frequency less than or equal to 0.01, there were a total of 178,997 SNVs in our data. We chose a cRV pool of size 20 at random from the SNVs with a alternate allele frequency of 5e-05 located in the sub-apoptosis pathway described by the hg_apopPath data set (see section 3.2 and 3.3).

For timing of sim_RVstudy, we first explore the effects of the affected_only and remove_wild arguments. When affected_only = TRUE, sequence data is only simulated for disease-affected relatives and the family members that connect them along a line of descent, otherwise if affected_only = FALSE sequence data is simulated for the entire pedigree. When remove_wild = TRUE the size of the data is reduced by removing from the data SNVs not carried by any study participant; otherwise if remove_wild = FALSE no data reduction occurs.

Number of Pedigrees affected_only remove_wild time (in minutes)
100 TRUE TRUE 0.976
100 TRUE FALSE 1.267
100 FALSE TRUE 2.032
100 FALSE FALSE 3.051

For the sample of 100 pedigrees used to time sim_RVstudy, setting affected_only = FALSE resulted in simulation of sequence data for a total of 1473 individuals, when affected_only = TRUE the data were reduced to contain a total of 487 individuals. On average, this resulted in a reduction of 9.86 individuals from each pedigree.

To assess how well SimRVSequences scales with number of pedigrees we compare the time required to simulate sequence data for 10, 50, 100, 150, and 200 pedigrees. To amass samples with the required pedigree sizes, we sampled the requisite number of pedigrees with replacement from the original pool of 100 pedigrees and then recorded the computation time required for each set of simulation settings. We report the average time for each combination of settings and sample sizes over 10 replicates.

Figure 4 displays the results of this timing comparison. From the plot, we see that for the most computationally expensive simulation settings, affected_only = FALSE and remove_wild = FALSE, the simulation time for 200 pedigrees was, on average, approximately 6.5 minutes. Under the least computationally expensive simulation settings, affected_only = TRUE and remove_wild = TRUE, the simulation time for 200 pedigrees was, on average, approximately 2 minutes.