Mapping complex disease traits with global gene expression.
Variation in gene expression is an important mechanism underlying susceptibility to complex disease. The simultaneous genome-wide assay of gene expression and genetic variation allows the mapping of the genetic factors that underpin individual differences in quantitative levels of expression (expression QTLs; eQTLs). The availability of systematically generated eQTL information could provide immediate insight into a biological basis for disease associations identified through genome-wide association (GWA) studies, and can help to identify networks of genes involved in disease pathogenesis. Although there are limitations to current eQTL maps, understanding of disease will be enhanced with novel technologies and international efforts that extend to a wide range of new samples and tissues.