Scientists at Merck Research Laboratories and their collaborators published two studies online in Nature on March 16 providing evidence that genetic susceptibility to obesity involves changes in entire networks of genes and is not limited to mutations in several specific genes. The work also showcases how genomic techniques may be used to understand the complex changes at the root of common diseases where multiple complex genetic changes are thought to be involved.
During this week's GEN podcast, Merck scientist Dr. Eric Schadt, a senior author on both studies, provides additional details on the main conclusions of the research project. He talks about specific methods for identifying and unraveling the complex interactions at the molecular and cellular levels that impact the initiation and development of disease. In addtion, Dr. Schadt discusses how his team's work differs from previous research in this area. Dr. Schadt also looks at the implications of his group's published studies as they relate to disease research in general.