Common disorders are quantitative traits

Robert Plomin*, Claire M A Haworth, Oliver S P Davis

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

534 Citations (Scopus)


After drifting apart for 100 years, the two worlds of genetics quantitative genetics and molecular genetics are finally coming together in genome-wide association (GWA) research, which shows that the heritability of complex traits and common disorders is due to multiple genes of small effect size. We highlight a polygenic framework, supported by recent GWA research, in which qualitative disorders can be interpreted simply as being the extremes of quantitative dimensions. Research that focuses on quantitative traits including the low and high ends of normal distributions could have far-reaching implications for the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of the problematic extremes of these traits.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)872-878
Number of pages7
JournalNature Reviews Genetics
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2009


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