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Selection of genetic instruments in Mendelian randomisation studies of sleep traits.

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Paz, Valentina 
Dashti, Hassan S 
Garfield, Victoria 


This review explores the criteria used for the selection of genetic instruments of sleep traits in the context of Mendelian randomisation studies. This work was motivated by the fact that instrument selection is the most important decision when designing a Mendelian randomisation study. As far as we are aware, no review has sought to address this to date, even though the number of these studies is growing rapidly. The review is divided into the following sections which are essential for genetic instrument selection: 1) Single-gene region vs polygenic analysis; 2) Polygenic analysis: biologically-vs statistically-driven approaches; 3) P-value; 4) Linkage disequilibrium clumping; 5) Sample overlap; 6) Type of exposure; 7) Total (R2) and average strength (F-statistic) metrics; 8) Number of single-nucleotide polymorphisms; 9) Minor allele frequency and palindromic variants; 10) Confounding. Our main aim is to discuss how instrumental choice impacts analysis and compare the strategies that Mendelian randomisation studies of sleep traits have used. We hope that our review will enable more researchers to take a more considered approach when selecting genetic instruments for sleep exposures.



Genetic epidemiology, Review, Sleep genetic variants, Humans, Mendelian Randomization Analysis, Phenotype, Sleep, Polymorphism, Single Nucleotide, Genome-Wide Association Study

Journal Title

Sleep Med

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Elsevier BV
Wellcome Trust (225790/Z/22/Z)
Medical Research Council (MC_UU_00002/7)
National Institute for Health and Care Research (IS-BRC-1215-20014)
Wellcome Trust (100114/Z/12/Z)