We study behavior of the restricted maximum likelihood (REML) estimator under a misspecified linear mixed model (LMM) that has received much attention in recent gnome-wide association studies. The asymptotic analysis establishes consistency of the REML estimator of the variance of the errors in the LMM, and convergence in probability of the REML estimator of the variance of the random effects in the LMM to a certain limit, which is equal to the true variance of the random effects multiplied by the limiting proportion of the nonzero random effects present in the LMM. The aymptotic results also establish convergence rate (in probability) of the REML estimators as well as a result regarding convergence of the asymptotic conditional variance of the REML estimator. The asymptotic results are fully supported by the results of empirical studies, which include extensive simulation studies that compare the performance of the REML estimator (under the misspecified LMM) with other existing methods, and real data applications (only one example is presented) that have important genetic implications.
This work is joint with Cong Li, Can Yang, and Hongyu Zhao of Yale University, and Debashis Paul of UC-Davis.
More information about Jiming Jiang may be found at http://www.stat.ucdavis.edu/~jiang/