• genetic association studies;
  • genomics;
  • nursing;
  • genetic markers;
  • risk assessment

Purpose: To explore the role of genetic association studies in risk assessment for common complex diseases.

Organizing Framework: An introduction to the types of genetic association studies is followed by a discussion of their potential use in risk assessment for age-related macular degeneration and type 2 diabetes mellitus. The benefits and limitations of this burgeoning technology are explored and related to nursing practice and scholarship.

Conclusions: Nurses in practice must be prepared to assist clients with decisions about seeking and interpreting results from genetic association studies and nurse researchers must apply current guidelines for conducting robust studies and applying the results of such studies in clinical practice.

Clinical Relevance: Data collected from genetic association studies will increasingly be used to identify novel prevention and treatment strategies for many complex diseases. An understanding of the principles that underlie this new science is essential for nurses in all areas of clinical practice as they design, test, and implement appropriate intervention and prevention strategies based on genetic association studies.