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Genomic detectives crack the case of the missing heritability
Date:2/22/2013

Despite years of research, the genetic factors behind many human diseases and characteristics remain unknown. The inability to find the complete genetic causes of family traits such as height or the risk of type 2 diabetes has been called the "missing heritability" problem.

A new study by Princeton University researchers, however, suggests that missing heritability may not be missing after all at least not in yeast cells, which the researchers used as a model for studying the problem. Published in the journal Nature, the results suggest that heritability in humans may be hidden due only to the limitations of modern research tools, but could be discovered if scientists know where (and how) to look.

[Images can be seen at http://www.princeton.edu/main/news/archive/S36/13/86G93. To obtain high-res images, contact Princeton science writer Morgan Kelly, (609) 258-5729, mgnkelly@princeton.edu]

"The message of our study is that if you look hard enough you will find the missing heritability," said the senior researcher, Leonid Kruglyak, Princeton's William R. Harman '63 and Mary-Love Harman Professor in Genomics and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator. Kruglyak worked with first author Joshua Bloom, a Princeton graduate student; Wesley Loo, a 2010 Princeton graduate now a graduate student at Harvard University; Thuy-Lan Lite, Class of 2012, who is working at the National Institutes of Health for a year before starting graduate school; and Ian Ehrenreich, a past Princeton postdoctoral researcher now at the University of Southern California.

"We don't think there is some fundamental limitation such as that there are things we don't understand about how genes behave that is holding us back," Kruglyak said. "Instead, we should be able to detect the heritability in humans if we use the ri
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Contact: Morgan Kelly
mgnkelly@princeton.edu
609-258-5729
Princeton University
Source:Eurekalert  

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