Recent admixture between genetically differentiated populations can result in high levels of association between alleles at loci that are ≤ 10 cM apart. The transmission/disequilibrium test (TDT) proposed by Spielman et al. (1993) can be a powerful test of linkage between disease and marker loci in the presence of association and therefore could be a useful test of linkage in admixed populations. The degree of association between alleles at two loci depends on the differences in allele frequencies, at the two loci, in the founding populations; therefore, the choice of marker is important. For a multiallelic marker, one strategy that may improve the power of the TDT is to group marker alleles within a locus, on the basis of information about the founding populations and the admixed population, thereby collapsing the marker into one with fewer alleles. We have examined the consequences of collapsing a microsatellite into a two-allele marker, when two founding populations are assumed for the admixed population, and have found that if there is random mating in the admixed population, then typically there is a collapsing for which the power of the TDT is greater than that for the original microsatellite marker. A method is presented for finding the optimal collapsing that has minimal dependence on the disease and that uses estimates either of marker allele frequencies in the two founding populations or of marker allele frequencies in the current, admixed population and in one of the founding populations. Furthermore, this optimal collapsing is not always the collapsing with the largest difference in allele frequencies in the founding populations. To demonstrate this strategy, we considered a recent data set, published previously, that provides frequency estimates for 30 microsatellites in 13 populations.
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