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Genetic interactions are the key to understanding complex traits
Date:1/22/2009

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The researchers also were surprised to discover that the four SNPs occurred in genes known as transcription factors, which have the ability to turn on other genes. This finding lends weight to the emerging theory that transcription factors may be a rich source of meaningful genetic variations, he says.

"It's a big genome with many different types of genes," Cohen says. "The probability that all four SNPs would be in transcription factor genes is very, very low. This suggests transcription factors may be more likely to harbor significant variations than other classes of genes."

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.


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Contact: Caroline Arbanas
arbanasc@wustl.edu
314-286-0109
Washington University School of Medicine
Source:Eurekalert  

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