A central goal of genetics is to understand the links between genetic variation and disease. Intuitively, one might expect disease-causing variants to cluster into key pathways that drive disease etiology. But for complex traits, association signals tend to be spread across most of the genome-including near many genes without an obvious connection to disease. We propose that gene regulatory networks are sufficiently interconnected such that all genes expressed in disease-relevant cells are liable to affect the functions of core disease-related genes and that most heritability can be explained by effects on genes outside core pathways. We refer to this hypothesis as an "omnigenic" model.
Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.