Gene-Environment Interactions (GxE) and Complex Traits
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Functional variants associated with complex traits tend to fall in non-coding regions and affect regulatory mechanisms that are not yet well characterized. Furthermore, it is generally difficult to determine in which tissues and conditions they may have a functional impact. This is because the effect of a genetic variant on a molecular pathway, and ultimately on the individual's phenotype, may be modulated by "environmental" factors. We denominate such variants "gene-expression environment-specific quantitative trait nucleotides" GxE-QTNs. Achieving a better understanding of the mechanisms underlying GxE-QTNs is a critical step in understanding the link between genotype and complex phenotype. It is also crucial to develop computationally efficient and statistically sound methods capable to integrate tissue/condition-specific functional genomics data to predict and validate when a sequence variant is functional.
In this study we developed novel experimental and computational approaches to screen, analyze and functionally characterize genetic variants for complex traits ... (Show More)