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Concept of complex trait genetics

Part 1. Genetics

1.5. Complex Traits and Diseases

Specialist Review

  1. Kenneth M. Weiss,
  2. Anne V. Buchanan

Published Online: 15 APR 2005

DOI: 10.1002/047001153X.g105211

Encyclopedia of Genetics, Genomics, Proteomics and Bioinformatics

Encyclopedia of Genetics, Genomics, Proteomics and Bioinformatics

How to Cite

Weiss, K. M. and Buchanan, A. V. 2005. Concept of complex trait genetics. Encyclopedia of Genetics, Genomics, Proteomics and Bioinformatics. 1:1.5:58.

Author Information

  1. Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA, USA

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 15 APR 2005

Abstract

Complex traits are those for which there is no single main-effect cause with high predictive power. These traits generally involve multifactorial causation, including gene–gene and/or gene–environment interaction, although generally an exhaustive set of causal factors has not been possible to enumerate. Common complex chronic diseases in humans illustrate this heterogeneous category of traits and possible reasons for the difficulty human genetics and epidemiology have had in parsing them. It may be that a history of success with “simpler” diseases, those caused by strong environmental risk factors or single genes with strong effect, predisposes investigators to assume a similar model for complex disease. However, there are numerous reasons that complex diseases do not conform to the same model.

Keywords:

  • complex traits;
  • complex disease;
  • common chronic disease;
  • human genetics;
  • epidemiology