EDITORIAL STATEMENT Make it HuGE: human genome epidemiology reviews, population health, and the IJE
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Abstractscientific evidence that can ultimately form the basis of strategies for improving population health. Hence, the IJE would be expected to remain cautious about the technological advances heralded by the sequencing of the human genome. The classical epidemiological approaches of examining secular trends in disease risk, changes in risk consequent upon migration, and differences in disease rates between populations indicate that little of the global burden of common disease can be attributed to simple differences in genetically determined risk. It is not surprising that many social epidemiologists and public health practitioners (including, in the past, some of the authors of this editorial) have pointed this out. More surprising, perhaps, is that in the spirit of honest accounting, some geneticists and genetic epidemiologists have also punctured the inflated claims of genetic epidemiology by emphasizing that the population-attributable risk of most common genetic variants will be low and that in any case the influence of genetic factors is not reversible through changing genetic make-up.