With continued progress in mapping and sequencing of the human genome, and increasing recognition of the role of genes in disease etiology, there is a need for a more sophisticated approach to the investigation of the causes of complex chronic diseases. This text integrates the principles, methods and approaches of epidemiology and genetics in the study of disease etiology. After a brief historical overview of genetics and epidemiology and their gradual rapprochement, the authors define the central theme of genetic epidemiology as the study of the role of genetic factors and their interaction with environmental factors in the occurrence of disease in populations. They describe fundamental research strategies of genetic epidemiology including population and family studies. Among the former are the study of the distribution of genetic traits and the role of nonspecific genetic indicators (such as inbreeding and admixture) in the occurrence of diseases. Among the latter are the analysis of familial aggregation of disease and its causes by epidemiologic methods as well as techniques of formal genetic analysis (variance components, segregation and linkage analysis). Finally, the authors discuss the increasing applications of genetic epidemiology in preventive medicine, public health surveillance, and the emerging ethical issues regarding use of genetic information in society.
This book outlines the new field of genetic epidemiology. "The purpose is to describe and delineate genetic epidemiology. It brings together material that previously could be obtained only by reading journal literature in the separate fields of genetics and epidemiology. "It is not absolutely clear who is the intended audience. The subject matter assumes an advanced level of knowledge in genetics, epidemiology, and statistics. Without knowledge in all three fields the reader is likely to be quickly lost. The book is appropriate for advanced graduate students and researchers in genetic epidemiology. "The book's organization is a major feature. After an introductory chapter, the authors present separate chapters that explain some of the key concepts in genetics and epidemiology. The next section includes two chapters that present the rationale for studying genetic traits as outcomes. The core of the book is formed by four excellent chapters that synthesize current methodology for the conduct of family studies of disease aggregation. A last chapter explaining the public health significance of genetic epi demiology is not essential. This is a nice-looking book with adequate but not exceptional illustrations. The references are up-to-date, and the index is reasonable. "This is a fine book in a difficult area. It is far superior to previous books in genetic epidemiology that have paid scant attention to epidemiology and have concentrated on quantitative genetics. The four chapters on the familial clustering of disease are likely to make the book a key reference in the field.