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1.  Genetic Susceptibility to Type 2 Diabetes and Obesity: Follow-Up of Findings from Genome-Wide Association Studies 
Elucidating the underlying genetic variations influencing various complex diseases is one of the major challenges currently facing clinical genetic research. Although these variations are often difficult to uncover, approaches such as genome-wide association studies (GWASs) have been successful at finding statistically significant associations between specific genomic loci and disease susceptibility. GWAS has been especially successful in elucidating genetic variants that influence type 2 diabetes (T2D) and obesity/body mass index (BMI). Specifically, several GWASs have confirmed that a variant in transcription factor 7-like 2 (TCF7L2) confers risk for T2D, while a variant in fat mass and obesity-associated protein (FTO) confers risk for obesity/BMI; indeed both of these signals are considered the most statistically associated loci discovered for these respective traits to date. The discovery of these two key loci in this context has been invaluable for providing novel insight into mechanisms of heritability and disease pathogenesis. As follow-up studies of TCF7L2 and FTO have typically lead the way in how to follow up a GWAS discovery, we outline what has been learned from such investigations and how they have implications for the myriad of other loci that have been subsequently reported in this disease context.
doi:10.1155/2014/769671
PMCID: PMC3955626  PMID: 24719615
2.  Genetics of Obesity and Type 2 Diabetes in African Americans 
Journal of Obesity  2013;2013:396416.
Obesity and type 2 diabetes are highly prevalent and lead to significant morbidity and mortality. In the United States, the impact of these conditions may be worse on historically underserved minorities, particularly African Americans. Genetic ancestry and differences in physiology are unlikely to be the sole or primary determinants of these disparities. In addition, research in this area has the ethically problematic possibility of conflating race with biology. Despite these important considerations and the challenges of conducting this work, population-based approaches for investigating the etiology of obesity and T2D may yield useful information about the pathophysiology of disease, and have implications that extend to all affected individuals. The purpose of this paper is to describe what is understood about the genetic variation that underlies obesity and T2D in African Americans and other individuals of more recent African descent and to highlight several examples that illustrate how ensuring adequate minority representation in genetic research improves its quality. For a variety of reasons a number of unique insights have been possible as a result of these efforts.
doi:10.1155/2013/396416
PMCID: PMC3614120  PMID: 23577239
3.  Developmental Origins of Genotype-Phenotype Correlations in Chronic Diseases of Old Age 
Aging and Disease  2012;3(5):385-403.
In recent years, genome wide association studies have revolutionized the understanding of the genetic architecture of complex disease, particularly in the context of disorders that present in old age, such as type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. This new era is made all the more compelling by the fact that, through extensive validation efforts, there is now very strong consensus among human geneticists on what the key loci are that contribute to the pathogenesis of these traits. However, as these variants have been almost exclusively uncovered in an adult setting, there is the question of when these genetic variants start exerting their effects; indeed many may start setting up an individual’s predisposition to a disease of old age very early on in life. To this end, we review what breakthroughs have been made in elucidating which of these genetic factors are operating in childhood and conversely what discoveries have actually been made in the pediatric setting that have then been found subsequently to increase one’s risk of a late-onset disease. After all, it well known that complex traits like obesity, type 2 diabetes and inflammatory bowel disease are strongly determined by genetic factors, but the isolation of genes in these complex phenotypes in adults has been impeded by interaction with strong environmental factors. Distillation of the genetic component in these complex traits, which will at least partially have origins in childhood, should be easier to determine in a pediatric setting, where the relatively short period of a child’s lifetime limits the impact of environmental exposure.
PMCID: PMC3501394  PMID: 23185719
Disease; late-onset; childhood; genetic; association
4.  Genetics of Childhood Obesity 
Journal of Obesity  2011;2011:845148.
Obesity is a major health problem and an immense economic burden on the health care systems both in the United States and the rest of the world. The prevalence of obesity in children and adults in the United States has increased dramatically over the past decade. Besides environmental factors, genetic factors are known to play an important role in the pathogenesis of obesity. Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have revealed strongly associated genomic variants associated with most common disorders; indeed there is general consensus on these findings from generally positive replication outcomes by independent groups. To date, there have been only a few GWAS-related reports for childhood obesity specifically, with studies primarily uncovering loci in the adult setting instead. It is clear that a number of loci previously reported from GWAS analyses of adult BMI and/or obesity also play a role in childhood obesity.
doi:10.1155/2011/845148
PMCID: PMC3136227  PMID: 21773009

Results 1-4 (4)