Genetic Variation and Human Disease: Principles and Evolutionary Approaches / Edition 1

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Modern laboratory and computing advances have made it possible to identify which genes are responsible for a disease (or other biological traits) and to identify those genes. This book presents a survey of the methods that are being used to generate these successes, especially to study disease in families. The methods of epidemiology and genetics are surveyed, and related to molecular genetic data, with examples from both pediatric and chronic disease. The pattern of variation that has been found is best understood from the evolutionary perspective. Because these methods and ideas apply to any biological trait, not just to disease, this is a general book about the genetic control of biological traits.

The book contains black-and-white illustrations.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"...a most useful reference for those who wish to familiarize themselves with the area in general and to gain some comprehension of its methodologies." Roger W. Melvold, Doody's Health Science Book Review Journal

"...provides an overview of the concepts and methods needed to understand the genetic basis of biological traits, including disease, in humans. Using examples of qualitative and quantitative phenotypes, Professor Weiss shows how genetic variation may be quantified, and how relationships between genotype and phenotype may be inferred....will appeal to a wide range of biologists and biological anthropologists interested in the genetic basis of biological traits, as well as to epidemiologists, biomedical scientists, human geneticists and molecular biologists." Human Genome Abstracts

"...provides a comprehensive yet readable account of concepts and methods new to genetic epidemiology and molecular biology, which allows examination of the genetic basis of biological traits." N. Krusko, Choice

"...well-documented, clearly written, scholarly text...will certainly be valuable to students of genetics, epidemiology, molecular biology and biological anthropology, and to all who are interested in solving the molecular etiology of disease phenotypes and in studying the human gene pool and its behavior throughout evolution." Trends in Genetics

"...the value of the book lies in the mixing of quantitative methods of empirical findings of modern biology." Jonathan Flint, Times Higher Education Supplement

"This is a very fine and rewarding work. We find here no less than an explanation of the current status of, and a means for understanding, the rising flood of information on human genetic variability." William Klitz, Quarterly Review of Biology

Doody's Review Service
Reviewer: Roger W. Melvold, PhD (Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine)
Description: This book presents an overview of (1) the principles of the ways in which genes can influence disease, and (2) the methods by which such influences can be detected, measured, and characterized. It serves primarily as a survey of these topics, rather than as an in-depth exploration of each.
Purpose: The book is intended by the author to serve as an introduction to genetic epidemiology. This serves a worthy purpose, particularly in light of the current explosion of new information on the human genome and of human traits and diseases having a genetic basis. The work serves well as an overview for acquainting those not familiar with the field with the scope of this area.
Audience: The book is primarily directed at biomedical scientists and geneticists, but it is hoped that it will be useful to more general biologists and to anthropologists.
Features: Rather than restricting itself to diseases that are entirely attributable to single genes, the book does an excellent job of illustrating the broad scope of genetically related diseases, particularly those that must be studied by analyzing variation among kinships and populations. The table of contents and indexes are appropriately designed. The sections dealing with statistical methods require some familiarity with statistics, but they primarily serve to illustrate the logic behind the process rather than to deal with mathematical proofs and derivations. The author also provides an evolutionary viewpoint for human genetic disease in discussing effects of population movements, selection, etc. Authorities in some areas are likely to be unsatisfied by the references provided for their particular areas of expertise, but the survey approach of the text is probably served appropriately by using review articles, etc., although more of these would have been welcome.
Assessment: The survey nature of the book lessens its utility to those already well acquainted with the field, and it would be not appropriate as a course textbook. However, it would be a most useful reference for those who wish to familiarize themselves with the area in general and to gain some comprehension of its methodologies. It would be an appropriate selection for libraries and bookstores.
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Product Details

Table of Contents

Preface; Part I. Genes and Their Expression: 1. What is a gene?; 2. The logic of the genome; 3. Concepts of frequency and association in populations; 4. Genes and phenotypes in populations; Part II. Introduction to Genetic Epidemiology: Inference from Observational Data: 5. Segregation analysis: discrete traits in families; 6. Segregation analysis: quantitative traits in families; 7. Linkage analysis: finding and mapping genes for qualitative traits; 8. Linkage analysis: finding and mapping genes for quantitative traits; Part III. Evolution: The Time Dimension in Populations: 9. Genes over time and space; 10. Reconstructing history: the footprints of evolution; 11. Evolution generates heterogeneity; Part IV. Modification of the Inherited Genotype: The Time Dimension in Individuals: 12. Phenotype amplification by the environment; 13. Infectious disease: the response to biological challenge; 14. Variation within the inherited genotype; 15. Cancer and ageing: a microcosm of evolution during life; Afterwords: towards a unified general model; Conclusion; Notes; References; Index.

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