Selected new reviews and commentaries, 4 September 2007

4 September 2007

Obesity and Genetics:  A Public Health Perspective. Online review and commentary provided by the US CDC National Office of Public Health Genomics and National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, including presentations and links to journal reviews, available from

Statistics and medicine: statistical issues in genomewide association studies. Hunter DJ, Kraft P (2007) N Engl J Med. 357(5) 436-439. Perspective article explaining why GWAs provide more valuable data than smaller scale studies, and anticipating the need for more advanced forms of statistical analysis to deal with data on the complex interactions between genetic and environmental factors involved in disease (PubMed).

Network medicine--from obesity to the "diseasome". Barabasi AL (2007) N Engl J Med. 357(4):404-7. Editorial considering current understanding of the factors (from genetic to social) involved in obesity and their interactions, and predicting the emergence of ‘network medicine’ which takes into account all of the networks that influence health and disease (PubMed).

Engineering targeted viral vectors for gene therapy. Waehler R, Russell SJ, Curiel DT (2007) Nat Rev Genet. 8(8):573-87. Review on progress towards clinical application of gene therapies by the use of targeted viral vectors (PubMed).

Mining gene expression profiles: expression signatures as cancer phenotypes. Nevins JR, Potti A (2007) Nat Rev Genet. 8(8):601-9. Review on the performance and applications of gene expression analysis with particular reference to cancer, including current challenges and possible future directions (PubMed).

Share and share alike: deciding how to distribute the scientific and social benefits of genomic data. Foster MW, Sharp RR (2007) Nat Rev Genet. 8(8):633-9. Perspectives piece on data-sharing policies in development by major health research funding agencies, looking at the different issues and stakeholders involved, and calling for the development of policy frameworks to allow the consideration of multiple interests (PubMed).

Copy number variants and genetic traits: closer to the resolution of phenotypic to genotypic variability. Beckmann JS, Estivill X, Antonarakis SE (2007) Nat Rev Genet. 8(8):639-46. Opinion piece on copy number variants and their effects, calling for efforts to identify all CNVs in the human population in order to make sense of variable penetrance, expressivity and underlying factors in genetic disease (PubMed).

Ethics. Identifiability in genomic research. Lowrance WW, Collins FS (2007) Science 317(5838):600-2. Policy forum article on confidentiality and privacy of subjects in genomic research trials, arguing that although these must be protected, there are several options that would allow useful data access for researchers without significant risk of patient identification (PubMed).

New perspectives for the elucidation of genetic disorders. Ropers HH (2007) Am J Hum Genet. 81(2):199-207. Discussion of how large-scale genomewide association studies are yielding results, and calling for renewed research into monogenic diseases as a priority (PubMed).

Who should be sent for genetic testing in hereditary colorectal cancer syndromes? Lynch HT et al. (2007). J Clin Oncol. 25(23):3534-42. Review suggesting guidelines for referral for genetic testing by colorectal surgeons and oncologists based on clinicopathologic features, as well as family history (PubMed).

History, principles, and practice of health and human rights. Gruskin S, Mills EJ, Tarantola D (2007) Lancet 370(9585):449-55. Review on changing views of human rights and health policy, with reference to the HIV epidemic, calling for public health programmes to incorporate consideration of human rights issues (PubMed).

Clinical aspects of hereditary hearing loss. Kochhar A, Hildebrand MS, Smith RJ (2007) Genet Med. 9(7):393-408. Review looking at the genetic factors underlying forms of hereditary deafness, and discussing the clinical management of such patients (PubMed).

Human-subjects research: Trial and error. Ledford H (2007) Nature 448(7153):530-2. Feature article looking at criticism of Institutional Review Boards (IRBs), the ethics committees that oversee research on human subjects in the US, and considering alternatives but noting potential problems, citing the former UK Central Office of Research Ethics Committees as one example (PubMed).

Pulling rank.(2007) Nature 448, 969. Editorial querying why the military personnel should be excluded from the protections that would be conferred by the US Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (PubMed).

Unraveling intrinsic genetic factors in type 2 diabetes. Katzov H (2007) Clin Genet72(3):184-5. Commentary on recent publication of genome-wide association study identifying novel risk loci for type 2 diabetes (PubMed). See also:

Genome-wide association studies provide new insights into type 2 diabetes aetiology. Frayling TM (2007) Nat Rev Genet. 8(9):657-62. Progress review combining recent and earlier understanding of genetic factors in type 2 diabetes, their potential implications, and possible future directions for research (PubMed).

New insights into autism from a comprehensive genetic map. Katzov H (2007) Clin Genet 72(3):186-7. Commentary on recently published results on genetic risk factors for autism spectrum disorder from the Autism Genome Project Consortium (PubMed).

Epidemiologist sees flaws in papers on genes and gender. Couzin J (2007) Science 317(5841):1020-1. News article on recent research by respected epidemiologist John Ioannidis, published in JAMA (PubMed).

Publishing genomewide association studies. Drazen JM, Phimister EG (2007) N Engl J Med. 357(5) 496. Editorial on recent and anticipated GWAs, explaining why they are considered an important advance in medical research .

Scanning the genome for coronary risk. Rosenzweig AR (2007) N Engl J Med. 357(5) 497-499. Editorial on insights into potential genetic risk factors for coronary disease and how they may reveal novel mechanisms of disease.

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