Important updates to the The Great DNA Data Deficit
Eighteen months ago we published (to some scepticism) The Great DNA Data Deficit: Are Genes for Disease a Mirage?
Since then, there have been important developments in human genetics that are relevant to the food and environmental movements worldwide, and that deserves to be very widely known.
In particular, two scientific publications, the first from Jan 2012:
The mystery of missing heritability: Genetic interactions create phantom heritability by O. Zuk, E. Hechter, S. Sunyaev and E. Lander in the Proceedings of the US National Academy of Sciences.
This can be found at: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3268279/
and even more recently, from April 2012:
The Predictive Capacity of Personal Genome Sequencing by NJ Roberts, JT Vogelstein, G. Parmigiani, KW Kinzler, B. Vogelstein and VE Velculescu in Science Translational Medicine.
This can be found at: http://www.biostat.wisc.edu/~kbroman/hgjc/hgjc_2012-04-13.pdf
These papers have powerfully vindicated the scientific conclusions of our article. We draw your attention to three noteworthy aspects:
1) the lead authors of each (B. Vogelstein and E. Lander) are among the most highly cited biomedical researchers in the world
2) that their analyses, though new, are based on data that have been available since the human genome was sequenced. It is a rethink, not new data.
3) these papers demonstrate that leading medical geneticists no longer have realistic expectations that most human disease occurrence can be explained by inherited genetic predispositions.
In other words, genetic determinism of disease is a reductionistic fallacy that is now collapsing. Geneticists now face a long retreat from Moscow and the interesting question of who will rewrite the textbooks and tell the public.
We would also like to point out some others who have stuck their necks far out and predicted these events long before we did.
Joseph D Terwilliger and Kenneth M Weiss Linkage disequilibrium mapping of complex disease: fantasy or reality? Current Opinion in Biotechnology 9: 578-594 (1998)
Jay Joseph (The Gene Illusion, 2004) http://jayjoseph.net/the_gene_illusion
Helen M. Wallace (2006) A model for gene-gene and gene-environment interactions and its implications for targeting environmental interventions by genotype. Theoretical Biology and Medical Modelling 3: 35-58.
One last point is perhaps worth making. It is important to appreciate that, with a few exceptions, research geneticists have not merely been wrong in this matter, but that they have actively and grossly misled society as a whole. They could have and should have known that genetic predispositions might after all explain very little in the way of disease, but they routinely failed to make clear that possibility and went far beyond the actual evidence in order to obtain public funds and prestige. Caveat emptor.