Epistasis Blog

From the Artificial Intelligence Innovation Lab at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center (www.epistasis.org)

Sunday, April 24, 2005

Epistatic control of genome-wide gene expression

Timothy York and colleagues at VCU have published an interesting paper in Twin Research and Human Genetics on epistatic control of genome-wide gene expression as assessed by correlation studies in monozygotic (MZ) and dizygotic (DZ) twins:

York TP, Miles MF, Kendler KS, Jackson-Cook C, Bowman ML, Eaves LJ. Epistatic and environmental control of genome-wide gene expression. Twin Res Hum Genet. 2005 Feb;8(1):5-15. [PubMed]


All etiological studies of complex human traits focus on analyzing the causes of variation. Given this complexity, there is a premium on studying those processes that mediate between gene products and cellular or organismal phenotypes. Studies of levels of gene expression could offer insight into these processes and are likely to be especially useful to the extent that the major sources of their variation are known in normal tissues. The classical study of monozygotic (MZ) and dizygotic (DZ) twins was employed to partition the genetic and environmental influences in gene expression for over 6500 human genes measured using microarrays from lymphoblastoid cell lines. Our results indicate that mean expression levels are correlated about .3 in monozygotic (MZ) and .0 in dizygotic (DZ) twins suggesting an overall epistatic regulation of gene expression. Furthermore, the functions of several of the genes whose expression was most affected by environmental effects, after correction for measurement error, were consistent with their known role in mediating sensitivity to environmental influences.

Other recent studies on the genetics of gene expression in humans include:

Morley M, Molony CM, Weber TM, Devlin JL, Ewens KG, Spielman RS, Cheung VG. Genetic analysis of genome-wide variation in human gene expression. Nature. 2004 Aug 12;430(7001):743-7. [PubMed]

Monks SA, Leonardson A, Zhu H, Cundiff P, Pietrusiak P, Edwards S, Phillips JW, Sachs A, Schadt EE. Genetic inheritance of gene expression in human cell lines. Am J Hum Genet. 2004 Dec;75(6):1094-105. [PubMed]


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