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Measuring environmental factors can enhance the search for disease causing genes?
  1. T Dwyer1,
  2. A-L Ponsonby1,2,
  3. J Stankovich1,
  4. L Blizzard1,
  5. S Easteal1,3
  1. 1Menzies Centre for Population Health, University of Tasmania, Australia
  2. 2National Centre for Epidemiology and Population Health, Australian National University
  3. 3John Curtin School of Medical Research, Australian National University
  1. Correspondence to:
 Professor T Dwyer
 Menzies Centre for Population Health Research, University of Tasmania, Private Bag 23, Hobart, Tasmania 7001, Australia;


The value of the concurrent measurement of environmental factors in studies aimed at the discovery of disease causing genes has been questioned on the grounds that such an approach fails to increase study power. This report discusses the issue and shows with examples from the recent literature that the examination of a gene disease association within an environmental subgroup can provide enhanced opportunities for detecting gene effects. The concurrent collection of environmental as well as genetic factors in studies of disease aetiology may enhance study informativeness and validity in several ways, including an increase in the power of the study to detect gene disease associations.

  • GST, glutathione transferase
  • MAOA, monoamine oxidase A
  • epidemiological research design
  • genetic predisposition to disease
  • disease susceptibility

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  • Funding: none.

  • Conflicts of interest: none declared.

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