An important feature in many genomic studies is quality control and normalization. This is particularly important when analyzing epigenetic data, where the process of obtaining measurements can be bias prone. The GAW20 data was from the Genetics of Lipid Lowering Drugs and Diet Network (GOLDN), a study with multigeneration families, where DNA cytosine-phosphate-guanine (CpG) methylation was measured pre- and posttreatment with fenofibrate. We performed quality control assessment of the GAW20 DNA methylation data, including normalization, assessment of batch effects and detection of sample swaps.
We show that even after normalization, the GOLDN methylation data has systematic differences pre- and posttreatment. Through investigation of (a) CpGs sites containing a single nucleotide polymorphism, (b) the stability of breeding values for methylation across time points, and (c) autosomal gender-associated CpGs, 13 sample swaps were detected, 11 of which were posttreatment.
This paper demonstrates several ways to perform quality control of methylation data in the absence of raw data files and highlights the importance of normalization and quality control of the GAW20 methylation data from the GOLDN study.