Nature Reviews Genetics 7, 385-394
Nan M. Laird and Christoph Lange
Abstract: Both population-based and family-based designs are commonly used in genetic association studies to locate genes that underlie complex diseases. The simplest version of the family-based design — the transmission disequilibrium test — is well known, but the numerous extensions that broaden its scope and power are less widely appreciated. Family-based designs have unique advantages over population-based designs, as they are robust against population admixture and stratification, allow both linkage and association to be tested for and offer a solution to the problem of model building. Furthermore, the fact that family-based designs contain both within- and between-family information has substantial benefits in terms of multiple-hypothesis testing, especially in the context of whole-genome association studies.