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In genomic research phenotype transformations are commonly used as a straightforward way to reach normality of the model outcome. Many researchers still believe it to be necessary for proper inference. Using regression simulations, we show that phenotype transformations are typically not needed and, when used in phenotype with heteroscedasticity, result in inflated Type I error rates. We further explain that important is to address a combination of rare variant genotypes and heteroscedasticity. Incorrectly estimated parameter variability or incorrect choice of the distribution of the underlying test statistic provide spurious detection of associations. We conclude that it is a combination of heteroscedasticity, minor allele frequency, sample size, and to a much lesser extent the error distribution, that matter for proper statistical inference.

Autor: Petra Bůžková



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