Systems Genetics for Mechanistic Discovery in Heart Diseases.
Cardiovascular diseases are the leading cause of death worldwide. Complex diseases with highly heterogenous disease progression among patient populations, cardiovascular diseases feature multifactorial contributions from both genetic and environmental stressors. Despite significant effort utilizing multiple approaches from molecular biology to genome-wide association studies, the genetic landscape of cardiovascular diseases, particularly for the nonfamilial forms of heart failure, is still poorly understood. In the past decade, systems-level approaches based on omics technologies have become an important approach for the study of complex traits in large populations. These advances create opportunities to integrate genetic variation with other biological layers to identify and prioritize candidate genes, understand pathogenic pathways, and elucidate gene-gene and gene-environment interactions. In this review, we will highlight some of the recent progress made using systems genetics approaches to uncover novel mechanisms and molecular bases of cardiovascular pathophysiological manifestations. The key technology and data analysis platforms necessary to implement systems genetics will be described, and the current major challenges and future directions will also be discussed. For complex cardiovascular diseases, such as heart failure, systems genetics represents a powerful strategy to obtain mechanistic insights and to develop individualized diagnostic and therapeutic regiments, paving the way for precision cardiovascular medicine.
Rau, CD; Lusis, AJ; Wang, Y
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