iGWAS: Image-based genome-wide association of self-supervised deep phenotyping of retina fundus images.

PubMed ID: 38728357

Author(s): Xie Z, Zhang T, Kim S, Lu J, Zhang W, Lin CH, Wu MR, Davis A, Channa R, Giancardo L, Chen H, Wang S, Chen R, Zhi D. iGWAS: Image-based genome-wide association of self-supervised deep phenotyping of retina fundus images. PLoS Genet. 2024 May 10;20(5):e1011273. doi: 10.1371/journal.pgen.1011273. Online ahead of print. PMID 38728357

Journal: P Lo S Genetics, Volume 20, Issue 5, May 2024

Existing imaging genetics studies have been mostly limited in scope by using imaging-derived phenotypes defined by human experts. Here, leveraging new breakthroughs in self-supervised deep representation learning, we propose a new approach, image-based genome-wide association study (iGWAS), for identifying genetic factors associated with phenotypes discovered from medical images using contrastive learning. Using retinal fundus photos, our model extracts a 128-dimensional vector representing features of the retina as phenotypes. After training the model on 40,000 images from the EyePACS dataset, we generated phenotypes from 130,329 images of 65,629 British White participants in the UK Biobank. We conducted GWAS on these phenotypes and identified 14 loci with genome-wide significance (p<5×10-8 and intersection of hits from left and right eyes). We also did GWAS on the retina color, the average color of the center region of the retinal fundus photos. The GWAS of retina colors identified 34 loci, 7 are overlapping with GWAS of raw image phenotype. Our results establish the feasibility of this new framework of genomic study based on self-supervised phenotyping of medical images.

Copyright: © 2024 Xie et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.