Non-Synonymous and Synonymous Coding SNPs Show Similar Likelihood and Effect Size of Human Disease Association
Chen R, Davydov EV, Sirota M, Butte AJ
PLoS ONE 5(10): e13574. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0013574
Many DNA variants have been identified on more than 300 diseases and traits using Genome-Wide Association Studies (GWASs). Some have been validated using deep sequencing, but many fewer have been validated functionally, primarily focused on non-synonymous coding SNPs (nsSNPs). It is an open question whether synonymous coding SNPs (sSNPs) and other non-coding SNPs can lead to as high odds ratios as nsSNPs. We conducted a broad survey across 21,429 disease-SNP associations curated from 2,113 publications studying human genetic association, and found that nsSNPs and sSNPs shared similar likelihood and effect size for disease association. The enrichment of disease-associated SNPs around the 80th base in the first introns might provide an effective way to prioritize intronic SNPs for functional studies. We further found that the likelihood of disease association was positively associated with the effect size across different types of SNPs, and SNPs in the 3′untranslated regions, such as the microRNA binding sites, might be under-investigated. Our results suggest that sSNPs are just as likely to be involved in disease mechanisms, so we recommend that sSNPs discovered from GWAS should also be examined with functional studies.