Send to:

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Curr Genomics. 2012 May;13(3):213-24. doi: 10.2174/138920212800543101.

Human complex trait genetics: lifting the lid of the genomics toolbox - from pathways to prediction.

Author information

  • 1The Roslin Institute, The University of Edinburgh, Easter Bush Campus, Midlothian, EH25 9RG, Scotland, UK.


During the initial stages of the genome revolution human genetics was hugely successful in discovering the underlying genes for monogenic diseases. Over 3,000 monogenic diseases have been discovered with simple patterns of inheritance. The unravelling and identification of the genetic variants underlying complex or multifactorial traits, however, is proving much more elusive. There have been over 1,000 significant variants found for many quantitative and binary traits yet they explain very little of the estimated genetic variance or heritability evident from family analysis. There are many hypotheses as to why this might be the case. This apparent lack of information is holding back the clinical application of genetics and shedding doubt on whether more of the same will reveal where the remainder of the variation lies. Here we explore the current state of play, the types of variants we can detect and how they are currently exploited. Finally we look at the future challenges we must face to persuade the human genome to yield its secrets.


Association complex human genetics genome-wide genomics GWAS prediction.

Free PMC Article
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for PubMed Central
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk