Will genome-wide association studies (GWAS) 'work for pharmacogenetics research? This question was the topic of a staged debate, with pro and con sides, aimed to bring out the strengths and weaknesses of GWAS for pharmacogenetics studies. After a full day of seminars at the Fifth Statistical Analysis Workshop of the Pharmacogenetics Research Network, the lively debate was held-appropriately-at Goonies Comedy Club in Rochester (MN, USA). The pro side emphasized that the many GWAS successes for identifying genetic variants associated with disease risk show that it works; that the current genotyping platforms are efficient, with good imputation methods to fill in missing data; that its global assessment is always a success even if no significant associations are detected; and that genetic effects are likely to be large because humans have not evolved in a drug-therapy environment. By contrast, the con side emphasized that we have limited knowledge of the complexity of the genome; limited clinical phenotypes compromise studies; the likely multifactorial nature of drug response clouding the small genetic effects; and limitations of sample size and replication studies in pharmacogenetic studies. Lively and insightful discussions emphasized further research efforts that might benefit GWAS in pharmacogenetics.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Medicine