Patterns of genetic variation in Mendelian and complex traits

Annu Rev Genomics Hum Genet. 2000;1:387-407. doi: 10.1146/annurev.genom.1.1.387.


This review discusses the prospects for understanding the genetic basis of complex traits in humans. We take the view that work done on Drosophila melanogaster can serve as a model for understanding complex traits in humans, and the literature on this model system, as well as on humans, is reviewed. The prospects for success in understanding the genetic basis of complex traits depend, in part, on the nature of the forces acting on genetic variation. We suggest that different experimental approaches should be undertaken for traits caused by common genetic variants versus those arising from rare genetic variants.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Drosophila melanogaster / anatomy & histology
  • Drosophila melanogaster / genetics
  • Genetic Variation*
  • Genetics, Medical
  • Humans
  • Models, Genetic*
  • Quantitative Trait, Heritable
  • Sense Organs / anatomy & histology