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Using Genomic Databases to Study Complex Diseases

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Publication Date: May 2007

Publisher(s): Genetics and Public Policy Center

Author(s): Juli Murphy; Joan Scott; Shawna Williams

Funder(s): Pew Charitable Trusts

Funder(s): Pew Charitable Trusts

Topic: Health (Medical research and technology)

Keywords: Genomic databases; Complex diseases

Type: Brief

Abstract:

For centuries humans have debated the relative roles of nature and nurture in shaping a person, but only recently has science begun to provide the tools needed to disentangle the two. What has become clear is that while some conditions -- such as Huntington disease and Tay-Sachs -- have solely genetic roots, most result from a complex interplay of multiple genes and an individual's environment. A person's environment includes everything from the physical environment in which they live and work, what they eat, how much they exercise, what medications they take, and whether they smoke, to what goes on inside their cells and how their genes interact with each other.