Rare genetic tweaks may not be behind common diseases

Rare genetic tweaks may not be behind common diseases

Variants thought to be behind inherited conditions prove difficult to pin down

By Tina Hesman Saey, 16:02 PM November 8, 2012

SAN FRANCISCO — Rare tweaks in single letters of DNA are not as powerful a force in health and in common diseases as scientists hoped, new work suggests.

Common genetic variants contribute only a tiny bit to a person’s risk of developing particular diseases, so researchers have turned to rare variants as a possible explanation for why some people inherit a propensity for heart disease, diabetes or other common ailments. These rare variants, present in a small percentage of people, are thou...

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