News & AnalysisHuman Genetics

Genetic Influences on Disease Remain Hidden

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Science  23 Nov 2012:
Vol. 338, Issue 6110, pp. 1016-1017
DOI: 10.1126/science.338.6110.1016

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The quest to find genes that strongly influence whether people will develop common diseases is turning out to be even more difficult than some researchers had expected. At the annual meeting of the American Society of Human Genetics, several huge DNA sequencing studies aimed at ferreting out genetic variants behind diseases such as diabetes and heart disease reported initial findings. This work shows that a popular hypothesis in the field—that the general population carries somewhat rare variants that greatly increase or decrease a person's disease risk—is not yet panning out.