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Title: The role of genetic polymorphisms in environmental health.
Authors: Kelada SN,  Eaton DL,  Wang SS,  Rothman NR,  Khoury MJ
Journal: Environ Health Perspect
Date: 2003 Jun
Branches: MEB, OEEB
PubMed ID: 12826477
PMC ID: PMC1241554
Abstract: Interest is increasing in the role of variations in the human genome (polymorphisms) in modifying the effect of exposures to environmental health hazards (often referred to as gene-environment interaction), which render some individuals or groups in the population more or less likely to develop disease after exposure. This review is intended for an audience of environmental health practitioners and students and is designed to raise awareness about this rapidly growing field of research by presenting established and novel examples of gene-environment interaction that illustrate the major theme of effect modification. Current data gaps are identified and discussed to illustrate limitations of past research and the need for the application of more robust methods in future research projects. Two primary benefits of incorporating genetics into the existing environmental health research framework are illustrated: a) the ability to detect different levels of risk within the population, and b) greater understanding of etiologic mechanisms. Both offer opportunities for developing new methods of disease prevention. Finally, we describe a basic framework for researchers interested in pursuing health effects research that incorporates genetic polymorphisms.