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New approaches to investigating heterogeneity in complex traits
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  1. R Bomprezzi1,
  2. P E Kovanen2,
  3. R Martin3
  1. 1Cancer Genetics Branch, National Human Genome Research Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland 20892, USA
  2. 2Laboratory of Molecular Immunology, National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland 20892, USA
  3. 3Neuroimmunology Branch, National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland 20892, USA
  1. Correspondence to:
 Dr R Bomprezzi, Cancer Genetics Branch, National Human Genome Research Institute, National Institutes of Health, 50 South Drive, Room 5150, Bethesda, Maryland 20892, USA; 
 rbomprez{at}nhgri.nih.gov

Abstract

Great advances in the field of genetics have been made in the last few years. However, resolving the complexity that underlies the susceptibility to many polygenic human diseases remains a major challenge to researchers. The fast increase in availability of genetic data and the better understanding of the clinical and pathological heterogeneity of many autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis, but also Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and many more, have changed our views on their pathogenesis and diagnosis, and begins to influence clinical management. At the same time, more powerful methods that allow the analysis of large numbers of genes and proteins simultaneously open opportunities to examine their complex interactions. Using multiple sclerosis as a prototype, we review here how new methodologies such as gene expression profiling can be exploited to gain insight into complex trait diseases.

  • complex traits
  • heterogeneity
  • multiple sclerosis
  • new approaches
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