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Importance of complex traits

Part 1. Genetics

1.5. Complex Traits and Diseases

Introductory Review

  1. Joseph H. Lee

Published Online: 15 DEC 2006

DOI: 10.1002/047001153X.g105102

Encyclopedia of Genetics, Genomics, Proteomics and Bioinformatics

Encyclopedia of Genetics, Genomics, Proteomics and Bioinformatics

How to Cite

Lee, J. H. 2006. Importance of complex traits. Encyclopedia of Genetics, Genomics, Proteomics and Bioinformatics. 1:1.5.

Author Information

  1. Columbia University, New York, NY, US

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 15 DEC 2006

Abstract

Genetic studies of complex traits have yielded limited success. Yet it is important to study these complex traits since they represent major public health burden. Here I discuss the reasons for the difficulties and provide some successes as examples. Although no single approach is optimal for all traits, family-based linkage methods followed by association methods have been most successful in identifying susceptibility genes for complex traits. With use of quantitative traits, these studies are designed to identify susceptibility genes that confer smaller effects. Large population-based epidemiologic studies, on the other hand, are better suited for characterization of genes. In sum, it is important to choose an optimal study design for the hypothesis of interest and apply multiple integrated approaches.

Keywords:

  • complex traits;
  • genetic architecture;
  • study design;
  • linkage;
  • linkage disequilibrium;
  • endophenotype