Complex Traits - Research Article from Macmillan Science Library: Genetics

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Complex Traits

Complex traits are those that are influenced by more than one factor. The factors can be genetic or environmental. This is in contrast to simple genetic traits, whose variations are controlled by variations in single genes. Examples of simple traits include Huntington's disease and cystic fibrosis. Each of these traits is caused by a mutation in a single gene that alters or destroys the function of that gene. There are several thousand disorders caused by single genes, but these are almost always quite rare in the population, often occurring in less than one in five thousand individuals.

Almost any trait that is not simple is considered complex. If there are just a few genes that affect a trait, it may be called oligogenic. If there are many different genes that affect a trait, it may be called polygenic. If other, nongenetic factors are involved...

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This section contains 1,295 words
(approx. 5 pages at 300 words per page)
Buy the Complex Traits Encyclopedia Article
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Complex Traits from Macmillan. Copyright © 2001-2006 by Macmillan Reference USA, an imprint of the Gale Group. All rights reserved.
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