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Insights from GWAS into the quantitative genetics of transcription in humans

  • JINHEE KIM (a1) and GREG GIBSON (a1)


Human gene expression profiles have emerged as an effective model system for the dissection of quantitative genetic traits. Peripheral blood and transformed lymphoblasts are particularly attractive for their ready availability and repeatability, respectively, and the advent of relatively inexpensive genotyping and microarray analysis technologies has facilitated genome-wide association for transcript abundance in numerous settings. Thousands of genes have been shown to harbour regulatory polymorphisms that have large local effects on transcription, explaining 20% or more of the variance in many cases, but the focus on such results obscures the reality that the vast majority of the genetic component of transcriptional variance remains to be ascertained. This mini-review surveys the inferences derived from genome-wide association studies (GWAS) for gene expression to date, and discusses some of the issues we face in finding the remainder of the heritability and understanding how environmental and genetic regulatory factors orchestrate the highly structured architecture of transcriptional variation.

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*Corresponding author: School of Biology, Georgia Institute of Technology. Tel: (404) 835-2343. e-mail:


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Insights from GWAS into the quantitative genetics of transcription in humans

  • JINHEE KIM (a1) and GREG GIBSON (a1)


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