Journal article

Effect of Including Environmental Data in Investigations of Gene-Disease Associations in the Presence of Qualitative Interactions

Elizabeth Williamson, Anne-Louise Ponsonby, John Carlin, Terry Dwyer



Complex diseases are likely to be caused by the interplay of genetic and environmental factors. Despite this, gene-disease associations are frequently investigated using models that focus solely on a marginal gene effect, ignoring environmental factors entirely. Failing to take into account a gene-environment interaction can weaken the apparent gene-disease association, leading to loss in statistical power and, potentially, inability to identify genuine risk factors. If a gene-environment interaction exists, therefore, a joint analysis allowing the effect of the gene to differ between groups defined by the environmental exposure can have greater statistical power than a marginal gene-disease..

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