Single nucleotide polymorphisms affect both cis- and trans-eQTLs
Single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) between microarray probes and RNA targets can affect the performance of expression array by weakening the hybridization. In this paper, we examined the effect of the SNPs on Affymetrix GeneChip probe set summaries and the expression quantitative trait loci (eQTL) mapping results in two eQTL datasets, one from mouse and one from human. We showed that removing SNP-containing probes significantly changed the probe set summaries and the more SNP-containing probes we removed the greater the change. Comparison of the eQTL mapping results between with and without SNP-containing probes showed that less than 70% of the significant eQTL peaks were concordant regardless of the significance threshold. These results indicate that SNPs do affect both probe set summaries and eQTLs (both cis and trans), thus SNP-containing probes should be filtered out to improve the performance of eQTL mapping.