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Trends Biotechnol. 2007 Feb;25(2):45-7. Epub 2006 Dec 18.

Meta-analysis for microarray studies of the genetics of complex traits.

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  • 1Departments of Pharmacology/Toxicology and Neurology and the Center for Study of Biological Complexity, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA 23298, USA. mfmiles@vcu.edu


In comparison to other complex disease traits, alcoholism and alcohol abuse are influenced by the combined effects of many genes that alter susceptibility, phenotypic expression and associated morbidity, respectively. Many genetic studies, in both animal models and humans, have identified genetic intervals containing genes that influence alcoholism or behavioral responses to ethanol. Concurrently, a growing number of microarray studies have identified gene expression differences related to ethanol drinking or other ethanol behaviors. However, concerns about the statistical power of these experiments, combined with the complexity of the underlying phenotypes, have greatly hampered the identification of candidate genes underlying ethanol behaviors. Meta-analysis approaches using recent compilations of large datasets of microarray, behavioral and genetic data promise improved statistical power for detecting the genes or gene networks affecting ethanol behaviors and other complex traits.

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