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Approved research

Polygenic Evaluation of Gene-Environment interactions In Complex Traits

Principal Investigator: Dr Alison Motsinger-Reif
Approved Research ID: 57849
Approval date: April 20th 2020

Lay summary

The importance of gene-environment interactions in the underlying etiology of common, complex phenotypes is well accepted. The phrase 'genes load the gun, and environment pulls the trigger' is commonly used to summarize this phenomenon. While the importance of such interactions is well established, detecting specific interactions that lead to better understanding of the etiology of common diseases is challenging. There are limitations in both study designs and biostatistical methods that limit the detection and translation of such interactions for many diseases. In the current project, we propose to expand statistical methods to detect gene-environment interactions. We will build on approaches that detect genetic variants that are likely involved in such interactions, and expand them to ask and answer questions using information across multiple traits and diseases (Aim 1). Additionally, we will expand on biostatistical methods for accumulating signal/information from the entire genome, as well as all measured environmental exposures for better prediction of complex traits (Aim 3). We hypothesize that a person's disease risk can be better predicted using both genetic and environmental factors than with either type of data alone. Finally, we will use these newly developed tools to better understand risk factors of respiratory diseases (Aim 3).