lunes, 18 de agosto de 2014

Missing heritability of common diseases and treatm... [Hum Genet. 2014] - PubMed - NCBI

Missing heritability of common diseases and treatm... [Hum Genet. 2014] - PubMed - NCBI

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 2014 Aug 9. [Epub ahead of print]

Missing heritability of common diseases and treatments outside the protein-coding exome.


Genetic factors strongly influence risk of common human diseases and treatment outcomes but the causative variants remain largely unknown; this gap has been called the 'missing heritability'. We propose several hypotheses that in combination have the potential to narrow the gap. First, given a multi-stage path from wellness to disease, we propose that common variants under positive evolutionary selection represent normal variation and gate the transition between wellness and an 'off-well' state, revealing adaptations to changing environmental conditions. In contrast, genome-wide association studies (GWAS) focus on deleterious variants conveying disease risk, accelerating the path from off-well to illness and finally specific diseases, while common 'normal' variants remain hidden in the noise. Second, epistasis (dynamic gene-gene interactions) likely assumes a central role in adaptations and evolution; yet, GWAS analyses currently are poorly designed to reveal epistasis. As gene regulation is germane to adaptation, we propose that epistasis among common normal regulatory variants, or between common variants and less frequent deleterious variants, can have strong protective or deleterious phenotypic effects. These gene-gene interactions can be highly sensitive to environmental stimuli and could account for large differences in drug response between individuals. Residing largely outside the protein-coding exome, common regulatory variants affect either transcription of coding and non-coding RNAs (regulatory SNPs, or rSNPs) or RNA functions and processing (structural RNA SNPs, or srSNPs). Third, with the vast majority of causative variants yet to be discovered, GWAS rely on surrogate markers, a confounding factor aggravated by the presence of more than one causative variant per gene and by epistasis. We propose that the confluence of these factors may be responsible to large extent for the observed heritability gap.

[PubMed - as supplied by publisher]

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