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Zip or Genetic Code? Print E-mail
Written by Medical Xpress   
Wednesday, 16 January 2019 12:14
When it comes to disease and health, which is more powerful-zip code or genetic code? The degree to which nature and nurture affect disease and health remains one of the eternal-and still unanswerable-questions in medicine. Now a team of investigators from Harvard Medical School and the University of Queensland in Australia have tackled this question in a decidedly novel way.

In what the researchers describe as a coup for big data and a scientific first, the team has used a massive insurance database of nearly 45 million people in the United States including thousands of twin pairs to determine the effects of genes and environment in 560 common conditions. The diseases analyzed span 23 categories, ranging from cardiovascular illness and neuromuscular diseases to skeletal conditions. The work, published Jan. 14 in Nature Genetics, is thought to provide the largest assessment of U.S. twins to date, the researchers said. It is also the first one to go beyond the traditional one-disease-at-a-time approach and analyze hundreds of the most common conditions among more than 56,000 twin pairs. To date, most twin or familial studies of genes and environment have looked at a single disease or one environmental factor at a time.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 16 January 2019 12:16

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