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Systems genetics is an approach to understand the flow of biological information that underlies complex traits. It uses a range of experimental and statistical methods to quantitate and integrate intermediate phenotypes, such as transcript, protein or metabolite levels, in populations that vary for traits of interest. Systems genetics studies have provided the first global view of the molecular architecture of complex traits and are useful for the identification of genes, pathways and networks that underlie common human diseases. Given the urgent need to understand how the thousands of loci that have been identified in genome-wide association studies contribute to disease susceptibility, systems genetics is likely to become an increasingly important approach to understanding both biology and disease.
Genetic and gene expression studies have suggested an important role for KLF14 in metabolic disease. A new study now identifies a network of genes whose expression is associated with KLF14 variation in trans, providing a framework for understanding how KLF14 influences disease risk.
The effects of testosterone on early atherogenesis and the role of aromatase, an enzyme that converts testosterone to estrogens, were assessed in low density lipoprotein receptor-deficient male mice fed a Western diet. Castration of male mice increased the extent of fatty streak lesion formation in the aortic origin compared with testes-intact animals. Administration of anastrazole, a selective aromatase inhibitor, to testes-intact males increased lesion formation to the same extent as that observed with orchidectomized animals. Testosterone supplementation of orchidectomized animals reduced lesion formation when compared with orchidectomized animals receiving the placebo. This attenuating effect of testosterone was not observed when the animals were treated simultaneously with the aromatase inhibitor. The beneficial effect...
We previously reported the analysis of genome-wide expression profiles and various diabetes-related traits in a segregating cross between inbred mouse strains C57BL/6J (B6) and DBA/2J (DBA). By considering transcript levels as quantitative traits, we identified several thousand expression quantitative trait loci [eQTL] with LOD score > 4.3. We now experimentally address the problem of multiple comparisons by estimating the fraction of false-positive eQTL that are Under cis-acting regulation. For this, we have Utilized a classic cis-trans test with (B6 x DBA)F-1 rilice to determine the relative levels of transcripts from the B6 and DBA alleles. The results suggest that at least 64% of cis-acting eQTL with LOD > 4.3 are true Positives, while the remaining, 36% could not be confirmed as truly cis-acting. Moreover, we find that > 96% of ap...
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