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      Genome-wide association studies for complex traits: consensus, uncertainty and challenges

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          Abstract

          The past year has witnessed substantial advances in understanding the genetic basis of many common phenotypes of biomedical importance. These advances have been the result of systematic, well-powered, genome-wide surveys exploring the relationships between common sequence variation and disease predisposition. This approach has revealed over 50 disease-susceptibility loci and has provided insights into the allelic architecture of multifactorial traits. At the same time, much has been learned about the successful prosecution of association studies on such a scale. This Review highlights the knowledge gained, defines areas of emerging consensus, and describes the challenges that remain as researchers seek to obtain more complete descriptions of the susceptibility architecture of biomedical traits of interest and to translate the information gathered into improvements in clinical management.

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          Most cited references 80

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          A genome-wide association study identifies novel risk loci for type 2 diabetes.

          Type 2 diabetes mellitus results from the interaction of environmental factors with a combination of genetic variants, most of which were hitherto unknown. A systematic search for these variants was recently made possible by the development of high-density arrays that permit the genotyping of hundreds of thousands of polymorphisms. We tested 392,935 single-nucleotide polymorphisms in a French case-control cohort. Markers with the most significant difference in genotype frequencies between cases of type 2 diabetes and controls were fast-tracked for testing in a second cohort. This identified four loci containing variants that confer type 2 diabetes risk, in addition to confirming the known association with the TCF7L2 gene. These loci include a non-synonymous polymorphism in the zinc transporter SLC30A8, which is expressed exclusively in insulin-producing beta-cells, and two linkage disequilibrium blocks that contain genes potentially involved in beta-cell development or function (IDE-KIF11-HHEX and EXT2-ALX4). These associations explain a substantial portion of disease risk and constitute proof of principle for the genome-wide approach to the elucidation of complex genetic traits.
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            Genomewide association analysis of coronary artery disease.

            Modern genotyping platforms permit a systematic search for inherited components of complex diseases. We performed a joint analysis of two genomewide association studies of coronary artery disease. We first identified chromosomal loci that were strongly associated with coronary artery disease in the Wellcome Trust Case Control Consortium (WTCCC) study (which involved 1926 case subjects with coronary artery disease and 2938 controls) and looked for replication in the German MI [Myocardial Infarction] Family Study (which involved 875 case subjects with myocardial infarction and 1644 controls). Data on other single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) that were significantly associated with coronary artery disease in either study (P 80%) of a true association: chromosomes 1p13.3 (rs599839), 1q41 (rs17465637), 10q11.21 (rs501120), and 15q22.33 (rs17228212). We identified several genetic loci that, individually and in aggregate, substantially affect the risk of development of coronary artery disease. Copyright 2007 Massachusetts Medical Society.
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              Newly identified loci that influence lipid concentrations and risk of coronary artery disease.

              To identify genetic variants influencing plasma lipid concentrations, we first used genotype imputation and meta-analysis to combine three genome-wide scans totaling 8,816 individuals and comprising 6,068 individuals specific to our study (1,874 individuals from the FUSION study of type 2 diabetes and 4,184 individuals from the SardiNIA study of aging-associated variables) and 2,758 individuals from the Diabetes Genetics Initiative, reported in a companion study in this issue. We subsequently examined promising signals in 11,569 additional individuals. Overall, we identify strongly associated variants in eleven loci previously implicated in lipid metabolism (ABCA1, the APOA5-APOA4-APOC3-APOA1 and APOE-APOC clusters, APOB, CETP, GCKR, LDLR, LPL, LIPC, LIPG and PCSK9) and also in several newly identified loci (near MVK-MMAB and GALNT2, with variants primarily associated with high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol; near SORT1, with variants primarily associated with low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol; near TRIB1, MLXIPL and ANGPTL3, with variants primarily associated with triglycerides; and a locus encompassing several genes near NCAN, with variants strongly associated with both triglycerides and LDL cholesterol). Notably, the 11 independent variants associated with increased LDL cholesterol concentrations in our study also showed increased frequency in a sample of coronary artery disease cases versus controls.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Nature Reviews Genetics
                Nat Rev Genet
                Springer Science and Business Media LLC
                1471-0056
                1471-0064
                May 2008
                May 2008
                : 9
                : 5
                : 356-369
                Article
                10.1038/nrg2344
                18398418
                © 2008

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