LocusFocus: Web-based colocalization for the annotation and functional follow-up of GWAS

by Naim Panjwani, Fan Wang, Scott Mastromatteo, Allen Bao, Cheng Wang, Gengming He, Jiafen Gong, Johanna M. Rommens, Lei Sun, Lisa J. Strug

Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have primarily identified trait-associated loci in the non-coding genome. Colocalization analyses of SNP associations from GWAS with expression quantitative trait loci (eQTL) evidence enable the generation of hypotheses about responsible mechanism, genes and tissues of origin to guide functional characterization. Here, we present a web-based colocalization browsing and testing tool named LocusFocus (https://locusfocus.research.sickkids.ca). LocusFocus formally tests colocalization using our established Simple Sum method to identify the most relevant genes and tissues for a particular GWAS locus in the presence of high linkage disequilibrium and/or allelic heterogeneity. We demonstrate the utility of LocusFocus, following up of a genome-wide significant locus from a GWAS of meconium ileus (an intestinal obstruction in cystic fibrosis). Using LocusFocus for colocalization analysis with eQTL data suggests variation in ATP12A gene expression in the pancreas rather than intestine is responsible for the GWAS locus. LocusFocus has no operating system dependencies and may be installed in a local web server. LocusFocus is available under the MIT license, with full documentation and source code accessible on GitHub at https://github.com/naim-panjwani/LocusFocus.

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