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Cohort studies and the genetics of complex disease

Three new studies identify nearly 20 new loci for serum lipid levels using predominantly a prospective cohort study design which also permits extensive and unbiased characterization of environmental exposures. Given the known, strong environmental influences on these traits, investigation of gene-environment interactions should be emphasized in attempts to understand the complete epidemiologic and genetic architecture of these complex traits.

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Figure 1: Loci reported in association with any of the lipid variables (triglycerides and total, high-density lipoprotein or low-density lipoprotein cholesterol) in one, two or all three studies in the current issue3,4,5.


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Manolio, T. Cohort studies and the genetics of complex disease. Nat Genet 41, 5–6 (2009).

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