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Genetic Effects on Environmental Vulnerability to Disease



Genetic Effects on Environmental Vulnerability to Disease

Sir Michael J. Rutter (Editor)

ISBN: 978-0-470-69679-8 September 2008 232 Pages

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Much research has attempted to show direct linear relations between genes and disorder. However, scientists have been discouraged by inconsistent findings based on this simple gene-phenotype approach. The alternative approach is to incorporate information about the environment. A gene-environment interaction approach assumes that environmental pathogens cause disorder, whereas genes influence susceptibility to environmental pathogens.

This book brings together contributions from experts from multiple disciplines who discuss:

  • How epidemiological cohort studies can better integrate physiological (mechanistic) measures;
  • How best to characterise subjects’ vulnerability versus resilience by moving beyond single genetic polymorphisms;
  • How gene hunters can benefit from recruiting samples selected for known exposures;
  • How environmental pathogens can be used as tools for gene hunting;
  • How to deal with potential spurious (statistical) interactions, and
  • How genes can help explain fundamental demographic properties of disorders (e.g. sex distribution, age effects).
1. Michael Rutter

Introduction: whither gene–environment interactions?

2. Rudolf Uher

Gene–environment interaction: overcoming methodological challenges


3. Marco Battaglia, Cecilia Marino, Michel Maziade, Massimo Molteni and Francesca D’Amato

Gene–environment interaction and behavioural disorders: a developmental perspective based on endophenotypes


4. Naomi R. Wray, William L. Coventry, Michael R. James, Grant W. Montgomery, Lindon J. Eaves and Nicholas G. Martin

Use of monozygotic twins to investigate the relationship between 5HTTLPR genotype, depression and stressful life events: an application of Item Response Theory



General discussion I

5. Harold Snieder, Xiaoling Wang, Vasiliki Lagou, Brenda W. J. H. Penninx, Harriëtte Riese and Catharina A. Hartman

Role of gene–stress interactions in gene-finding studies


6. Kenneth A. Dodge

Practice and public policy in the era of gene–environment interactions


7. Kristi B. Adamo and Frédérique Tesson

Gene–environment interaction and the metabolic syndrome


General discussion II

8. Stephen P. Robertson and Richie Poulton

Longitudinal studies of gene–environment interaction in common diseases—good value for money?


9. Kee-Seng Chia

Gene–environment interactions in breast cancer


10. Malak Kotb, Nourtan Abdeltawab, Ramy Aziz, Sarah Rowe, Robert W. Williams and Lu Lu

Unbiased forward genetics and systems biology approaches to understanding how gene–environment interactions work to predict susceptibility and outcomes of infections


11. Steven R. Kleeberger and Hye-Youn Cho

Gene–environment interactions in environmental lung diseases


General discussion III

12. Fernando D. Martinez

Gene–environment interaction in complex diseases: asthma as an illustrative case


13. Michael Rutter

Conclusions: taking stock and looking ahead


Index of contributors

Subject index