Epistasis Blog

From the Computational Genetics Laboratory at the University of Pennsylvania (www.epistasis.org)

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Ignoring Complexity in Genetics

Here is another of many published papers pushing a genome-wide association study (GWAS) approach to understanding the role of genetics in human health. Note the complete lack of discussion about the complexity of the genotype to phenotype mapping relationship. There is not one mention of epistasis, plastic reaction norms, locus heterogeneity, clinical heterogeneity, phenocopy, etc. Seems a bit odd, huh? What is the purpose of an article like this in a leading clinical journal? Haven't we yet learned our lesson about assuming simplicity in genetics and genomics?

Hunter DJ, Altshuler D, Rader DJ. From Darwin's finches to canaries in the coal mine--mining the genome for new biology. N Engl J Med. 2008 Jun 26;358(26):2760-3. [PubMed]

For a short counterpoint see "Problems with genome-wide association studies":

Shriner D, Vaughan LK, Padilla MA, Tiwari HK. Problems with genome-wide association studies. Science. 2007 Jun 29;316(5833):1840-2. [PubMed]

Williams SM, Canter JA, Crawford DC, Moore JH, Ritchie MD, Haines JL. Problems with genome-wide association studies. Science. 2007 Jun 29;316(5833):1840-2. [PubMed]

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