Academic journal article Environmental Health Perspectives

Gene-Environment Interactions: Fundamentals of Ecogenetics

Academic journal article Environmental Health Perspectives

Gene-Environment Interactions: Fundamentals of Ecogenetics

Article excerpt

Edited by Lucio G. Costa and David L. Eaton

Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, 2006. 450 pp. ISBN:0-471-46781-2. $110.

Specific hereditary susceptibility has now evolved into the field of ecogenetics. If you have ever pondered why an individual is at greater risk for a specific disease, or sensitive to a specific drug, then Gene-Environment Interactions is for you. Ecogenetics has emerged in large part because of the advancements in technology and informatics in the past 10 years. These technologies have provided a better understanding of the enormous influence the environment has on gene expression. This textbook gives the reader the first extensive look at how environmental factors in concert with genetic variation modulate the various biologic components to bring about increased risk from chemicals, change drug metabolism, and predispose humans to various diseases.

The book is well written and organized, containing 25 chapters arranged into four distinct sections, which cover ecogenetics, polymorphisms, specific medical problems, and social, ethical, and legal issues. The first section provides a historical overview of ecogenetics and introduces the reader to the epidemiologic and statistical approaches in addition to the biologic tools and techniques relevant to understanding and analyzing the data. The section provides the reader with the fundamentals of the present-day molecular techniques used to acquire and analyze multi-gene expression and specific gene sequences. These techniques are well described and illustrated.

The latter part of the first section describes the statistical and epidemiologic approaches used to evaluate the influence the environment has on human disease risk. It more than adequately provides the basic concepts in statistics used in human and population genetics. The chapters dedicated to epidemiologic discussions deal with issues related to study designs and methodology design considerations to control for a specific bias.

The second section tackles the monumental task of phase I and phase II biotransformation: introducing cytochrome P450 (CYP) enzymes and describing the biologic effects and implications of CYP polymorphisms to human health and risk assessment. In this section the contributors also discuss the toxic effects of chemicals on individuals with genetic polymorphisms that compromise DNA repair machinery, rendering individuals more susceptible to genotoxic agents. …

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