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Jenkins, Mary M.; Reefhuis, Jennita; Herring, Amy H.; & Honein, Margaret A. (2017). Impact of Sample Collection Participation on the Validity of Estimated Measures of Association in the National Birth Defects Prevention Study When Assessing Gene-Environment Interactions. Genetic Epidemiology, 41(8), 834-843. PMCID: PMC5739051


To better understand the impact that nonresponse for specimen collection has on the validity of estimates of association, we examined associations between self-reported maternal periconceptional smoking, folic acid use, or pregestational diabetes mellitus and six birth defects among families who did and did not submit buccal cell samples for DNA following a telephone interview as part of the National Birth Defects Prevention Study (NBDPS). Analyses included control families with live born infants who had no birth defects (N = 9,465), families of infants with anorectal atresia or stenosis (N = 873), limb reduction defects (N = 1,037), gastroschisis (N = 1,090), neural tube defects (N = 1,764), orofacial clefts (N = 3,836), or septal heart defects (N = 4,157). Estimated dates of delivery were between 1997 and 2009. For each exposure and birth defect, odds ratios and 95% confidence intervals were calculated using logistic regression stratified by race-ethnicity and sample collection status. Tests for interaction were applied to identify potential differences between estimated measures of association based on sample collection status. Significant differences in estimated measures of association were observed in only four of 48 analyses with sufficient sample sizes. Despite lower than desired participation rates in buccal cell sample collection, this validation provides some reassurance that the estimates obtained for sample collectors and noncollectors are comparable. These findings support the validity of observed associations in gene-environment interaction studies for the selected exposures and birth defects among NBDPS participants who submitted DNA samples.


Reference Type

Journal Article

Year Published


Journal Title

Genetic Epidemiology


Jenkins, Mary M.
Reefhuis, Jennita
Herring, Amy H.
Honein, Margaret A.