Genetic interaction networks: toward an understanding of heritability

Annu Rev Genomics Hum Genet. 2013;14:111-33. doi: 10.1146/annurev-genom-082509-141730. Epub 2013 Jun 26.


Understanding the relationship between the genotypes and phenotypes of individuals is key for identifying genetic variants responsible for disease and developing successful therapeutic strategies. Mapping the phenotypic effects of individual genetic variants and their combinations in human populations presents numerous practical and statistical challenges. However, model organisms, such as the budding yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae, provide an incredible set of molecular tools and advanced technologies that should be able to efficiently perform this task. In particular, large-scale genetic interaction screens in yeast and other model systems have revealed common properties of genetic interaction networks, many of which appear to be maintained over extensive evolutionary distances. Indeed, despite relatively low conservation of individual genes and their pairwise interactions, the overall topology of genetic interaction networks and the connections between broad biological processes may be similar in most organisms. Taking advantage of these general principles should provide a fundamental basis for mapping and predicting genetic interaction networks in humans.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Gene Regulatory Networks*
  • Humans
  • Phenotype
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae / genetics