Precision medicine - networks to the rescue

Curr Opin Biotechnol. 2020 Jun:63:177-189. doi: 10.1016/j.copbio.2020.02.005. Epub 2020 Mar 18.


Genetic variants are often not predictive of the phenotypic outcome. Individuals carrying the same pathogenic variant, associated with Mendelian or complex disease, can manifest to different extents, from severe-to-mild to no disease. Improving the accuracy of predicted clinical manifestations of genetic variants has emerged as one of the biggest challenges in precision medicine, which can only be addressed by understanding the mechanisms underlying genotype-phenotype relationships. Efforts to understand the molecular basis of these relationships have identified complex systems of interacting biomolecules that underlie cellular function. Here, we review recent advances in how modeling cellular systems as networks of interacting proteins has fueled identification of disease-associated processes, delineation of underlying molecular mechanisms, and prediction of the pathogenicity of variants. This review is intended to be inspiring for clinicians, geneticists, and network biologists alike who aim to jointly advance our understanding of human disease and accelerate progress toward precision medicine.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Databases, Genetic*
  • Humans
  • Precision Medicine*