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> A medical team led by Nina P. Paynter of Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston collected 101 genetic variants that had been statistically linked to heart disease in various genome-scanning studies. But the variants turned out to have no value in forecasting disease among 19,000 women who had been followed for 12 years.

...that's really not good. This sounds like the translation is: "Routine medical abuse of statistics so bad that 101 out of 101 'statistically significant' results failed to replicate."




You're right, it's not good. But it's also not quite as bad as it's made to sound. Here is the actual journal article: http://jama.ama-assn.org/cgi/content/abstract/303/7/631

The conclusion from the abstract: "After adjustment for traditional cardiovascular risk factors, a genetic risk score comprising 101 single nucleotide polymorphisms was not significantly associated with the incidence of total cardiovascular disease."

Since traditional risk factors include family history, it's totally unsurprising that a mere 101 genetic variants cannot beat them out. Since novel deleterious mutations in cardiovascular genes are rare (human mutation rate is ~10E-8 per nucleotide per generation; unpublished data) your family history contains virtually all of the information you're going to get from genetics.

Also, we're talking about 101 common genetic associations - not 101 genes. To put this in perspective, APOB itself has over 101 known deleterious variants itself. They didn't test all of these; they just tested 101 common-variant, disease-associated SNPs. So the study is actually much less interesting than it might be.

EDIT: Oh, not to mention that traditional risk factors include things like LDL-cholesterol, the best-established causal risk factor for MI. The genetic risk score includes many SNPs that influence LDL-C level. LDL-C is ~50% genetically determined, 50% environmental. So knowing the LDL-C level is, unsurprisingly, a more powerful predictor of MI risk than is knowledge of the variants that influence LDL-C.




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