Multifactor dimensionality reduction software for detecting gene-gene and gene-environment interactions

Lance W. Hahn, Marylyn D. Ritchie, Jason H. Moore

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1017 Scopus citations


Motivation: Polymorphisms in human genes are being described in remarkable numbers. Determining which polymorphisms and which environmental factors are associated with common, complex diseases has become a daunting task. This is partly because the effect of any single genetic variation will likely be dependent on other genetic variations (gene-gene interaction or epistasis) and environmental factors (gene-environment interaction). Detecting and characterizing interactions among multiple factors is both a statistical and a computational challenge. To address this problem, we have developed a multifactor dimensionality reduction (MDR) method for collapsing high-dimensional genetic data into a single dimension thus permitting interactions to be detected in relatively small sample sizes. In this paper, we describe the MDR approach and an MDR software package. Results: We developed a program that integrates MDR with a cross-validation strategy for estimating the classification and prediction error of multifactor models. The software can be used to analyze interactions among 2-15 genetic and/or environmental factors. The dataset may contain up to 500 total variables and a maximum of 4000 study subjects.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)376-382
Number of pages7
Issue number3
StatePublished - Feb 12 2003

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Statistics and Probability
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Computational Theory and Mathematics
  • Computational Mathematics


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