Advances in genetics and genomics during the past decade, including sequencing of the human genome and DNA sequencing technologies, have made it possible to discover the genetic basis for many diseases. With the discovery of multiple genetic loci for gastrointestinal diseases such as Crohn's disease, some have begun to wonder-Could there be a genetic basis for irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)? This article summarizes the evidence for and against a link between genes and IBS. In addition, a gene-environment paradigm is presented to combine the two opposing hypotheses, as IBS may represent a complex genetic disorder that results from the interaction of several genes and environmental risk factors.
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