Genomic and evolutionary analyses of common disease in a large cohort
Professor Molly Przeworski
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Objectives of the proposed research:
1. To use genomic approaches to identify risk factors for a set of common diseases of particular importance in development and aging. In particular, we will focus on metabolic phenotypes (disease like type 2 diabetes, and phenotypes like BMI), reproductive phenotypes (like number of children and age at menarche), and common causes of death (cancer, heart disease, and neurological disease).
2. To determine the influence of natural selection (if any) on the frequencies of alleles influencing disease risk. The purpose of the UK Biobank is to improve the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of illness. We aim to discover genetic and environmental risk factor that have causal influences on disease risk, and to measure the impact of these alleles on evolutionary fitness. Genomic research has identified thousands of variants that influence human traits like cholesterol levels, platelet counts, and blood pressure, but the influence of these traits on disease remains controversial. We will use novel statistical approaches to identify causal relationships between traits. We will also test whether these alleles influence overall mortality at different ages. The full cohort.