Many common complex diseases such as hypertension, diabetes, coronary heart disease, psychiatric disorders, and some cancers have a genetic etiology. Despite enormous efforts over the last few decades, little real progress was made in finding the genes and causal variants involved. Genome-wide association studies, in which hundreds of thousands of DNA markers are tested (usually in a case-control design) for association with disease, provide the first effective approach to search for genetic variants that contribute to the complex etiology of common human diseases.
SNPs indicates single-nucleotide polymorphisms. Data are adapted from the National Human Genome Research Institute1 at http://www.genome.gov/gwastudies/.
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