STATISTICAL GENETICS Gene Mapping Through Linkage and Association

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Statistical Genetics: Gene Mapping Through Linkage and Association

Neale BM, Ferreira MAR, Medland SE, & Posthuma D (Eds.) Taylor and Francis, London (2007). (ISBN 9780415410403)

The main goal of this book is to serve as a handbook for statistical genetics. The plan and need for this book grew out of an annual workshop that has been held in Boulder US, since the late 1980s. This is a workshop on twin methodology and structural equation modelling, aimed at PhD students, postdocs and anyone working with familial data. Within our field (Behavior Genetics, Genetic Epidemiology) there are several different international groups investigating the causes of individual differences in disease and behavior, and each annual workshops attracts > 100 new students.

The first book that was published based on these workshops, was “Methodology for genetic studies of twins and families” by Neale and Cardon (ISBN 0-7923-1874-9). This has become THE handbook for all beginning scientists in the field, and is now used in many undergraduate courses as well as postdoctoral courses. However, as our field moves quickly, there is a need for a new book that addresses some of the new methodologies that can be used to detect genes for diseases and complex behaviour.

Due to the recent immense academic and commercial effort in mapping the total human genome, it has now become feasible to conduct large genome-wide linkage or association studies for complex behavior and disease, using measured genes or genetic markers (hundreds of micro-satellites and/or (hundred) thousands SNPs). Therefore, the aim of research in the post-HumanGenomeProject era has shifted to move beyond heritability and to identify the actual genes underlying this heritability. Identifying these genes is important as it may lead us to understand why some people are more prone to mental disorders and physical disease than others, and may help improve the early diagnosis and ultimately treatment of these afflictions. Sound statistical methodology for conducting genetic linkage and association studies is needed.

Both Neale and Cardon were involved in deciding to generate a new book. This book is relevant for students in Behavior Genetics, Genetic Epidemiology and Statistical Genetics.