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Is the Gene-Environment Interaction Paradigm Relevant to Genome-Wide Studies? The Case of Education and Body Mass Index

Citation

Boardman, Jason D.; Domingue, Benjamin W.; Blalock, Casey L.; Haberstick, Brett C.; Harris, Kathleen Mullan; & McQueen, Matthew B. (2014). Is the Gene-Environment Interaction Paradigm Relevant to Genome-Wide Studies? The Case of Education and Body Mass Index. Demography, 51(1), 119-139. PMCID: PMC4035460

Abstract

This study uses data from the Framingham Heart Study to examine the relevance of the gene-environment interaction paradigm for genome-wide association studies (GWAS). We use completed college education as our environmental measure and estimate the interactive effect of genotype and education on body mass index (BMI) using 260,402 single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs). Our results highlight the sensitivity of parameter estimates obtained from GWAS models and the difficulty of framing genome-wide results using the existing gene-environment interaction typology. We argue that SNP-environment interactions across the human genome are not likely to provide consistent evidence regarding genetic influences on health that differ by environment. Nevertheless, genome-wide data contain rich information about individual respondents, and we demonstrate the utility of this type of data. We highlight the fact that GWAS is just one use of genome-wide data, and we encourage demographers to develop methods that incorporate this vast amount of information from respondents into their analyses.

URL

http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s13524-013-0259-4

Reference Type

Journal Article

Year Published

2014

Journal Title

Demography

Author(s)

Boardman, Jason D.
Domingue, Benjamin W.
Blalock, Casey L.
Haberstick, Brett C.
Harris, Kathleen Mullan
McQueen, Matthew B.

PMCID

PMC4035460