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Genetics of Common Diseases

BMJ 1998; 316 doi: (Published 18 April 1998) Cite this as: BMJ 1998;316:1253
  1. Andrew Read, professor of human genetics
  1. Department of Medical Genetics, St Mary's Hospital, Manchester

    Ed INM Day, SE Humphries

    Bios Scientific Publishers, £65, pp 344


    Everybody agrees that the major impact of genetics on health is through genes that influence susceptibility to heart attacks, diabetes, schizophrenia, and other common diseases. Until recently, attempts to identify these genes failed. In retrospect we can see that the tools available were inadequate for the task. The methods that had led so successfully to understanding simply inherited diseases (such as cystic fibrosis and Huntington's chorea) broke down when applied to diseases to which susceptibility depends on several (possibly many) genes together with environmental factors. Now new laboratory and statistical tools have been developed for fresh assaults on these …

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