Genetic epidemiology: Disease study in a genomic world. . N. E. Morton University of Southampton, United Kingdom.
In 1955, genetic disease studies were based on statistical analysis of inheritance patterns in families, and linkage analysis using a small number of blood group and serum protein markers. Human population genetics similarly focused on limited genetic material. As a graduate student and young faculty member, Newton Morton contributed novel approaches to analyzing data from family aggregation studies, linkage analysis and population genetics. He was instrumental in defining the emerging field of genetic epidemiology. In the 54 years since, major developments in molecular genetics and computer science have transformed population genetics and genetic epidemiology. Sequencing of the human genome and identification of millions of polymorphic variants have provided unprecedented opportunities to advance understanding of human evolution and the genetic and environmental basis of disease. This symposium will demonstrate how these novel technologies are now impacting our understanding of human evolution and disease, from a perspective first defined by Newton Morton.