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Understanding Complex Traits Through Genetic Interactions

Posted Jan 26 2009 5:03pm

This goes right along with what was said today relative to Science and Phama, it is a long process to the root of personalized medicine and why investing can be risky, as much of it is still a science, which we can’t rush.  Breakthroughs with identifying proteins and their properties are announced daily, sometimes more than one announcement too, and it’s a very complex system, but it is the ground work that stands to offer both cures and treatment plans designed specifically to your genome in the future.  BD  

St. Louis, MO, USA. In recent years, genetic studies have uncovered hundreds of DNA variations linked to common diseases, such as cancer or diabetes, raising the prospect that scientists can gauge disease risk based on information in an individual's genome. But the variations identified to date only account for a small percentage — typically one to three percent — of the overall genetic risk of any common disease.

This disappointment has led geneticist Barak Cohen, Ph.D., of Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, to suggest that scientists need to get a better handle on the ways genes interact to influence disease risk.

"For diseases that are major health problems, many different genetic variants combine to affect an individual's risk," says Cohen. "The problem is that we as scientists are really lousy at predicting how these variations interact to determine whether an individual is likely to develop a common disease or respond to a particular drug."   Cohen acknowledges that dissecting a complex genetic trait in humans is far more difficult due to the sheer number of SNPs in the human genome. But his research points to the need for a better understanding of genetic interactions so that information in the human genome can one day accurately predict the diseases an individual is susceptible to and a list of drugs that are most effective for that individual. In other words, a new era of personalized medicine.

Understanding Complex Traits Through Genetic Interactions

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