Interactive Role of Genes and the Environment

John Frank*, Geoffrey Lomax, Patricia Baird, Margaret Lock

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Abstract / Description of output

While enthusiasm for discovering genetic correlates of disease is currently widespread, it is important to view genetic mechanisms as only part of the "web of causation" of population health and as a modest component of approaches to improving population health status. This chapter argues that most common diseases in technologically advanced societies are multifactorial in origin, meaning that they are the product of complex interactions between our genetic endowment and our environment, acting over the course of a lifetime. The usefulness of genetics is also limited by the fact that there are profound difficulties in the implementation of broad-based genetic screening and intervention programs at the population level that would be required if new genetic knowledge were to radically alter disease frequency in entire societies. The chapter examines these argument with the use of several examples.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHealthier Societies
Subtitle of host publicationFrom Analysis to Action
PublisherOxford University Press
ISBN (Electronic)9780199864539
ISBN (Print)9780195179200
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2009

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • Disease
  • Environment
  • Genetics
  • Population health


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