Application of statistical genetics approaches to variations in mRNA transcript abundances in segregating populations can be used to identify genes and pathways associated with common human diseases. The combination of this genetic information with gene expression and clinical trait data can also be used to identify subtypes of a disease and the genetic loci specific to each subtype. Here we highlight results from some of our recent work in this area and further explore the many possibilities that exist in employing a more comprehensive genetics and functional genomics approach to the functional annotation of genomes, and in applying such methods to the validation of targets for complex traits in the drug discovery process.

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