Collections > UNC Scholarly Publications > BioMed Central > Genetic association studies and the effect of misclassification and selection bias in putative confounders

Abstract Genetic epidemiology studies often adjust for numerous potential confounders, yet the influences of confounder misclassification and selection bias are rarely considered. We used simulated data to evaluate the effect of confounder misclassification and selection bias in a case-control study of incident myocardial infarction. We show that putative confounders traditionally included in genetic association studies do not alter effect estimates, even when excessive levels of misclassification are incorporated. Conversely, selection bias resulting from covariates affected by the single-nucleotide polymorphism of interest can bias effect estimates upward or downward. These results support careful consideration of how well a study population represents the target population because selection bias may result even when associations are modest.