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Research Project: Childhood Obesity Prevention

Location: Children's Nutrition Research Center

Title: Genomic medicine and ethnic differences in cardiovascular disease risk

item Frazier-wood, Alexis - Children'S Nutrition Research Center (CNRC)
item Rich, Stephen - University Of Virginia

Submitted to: Book Chapter
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/31/2015
Publication Date: 9/28/2015
Citation: Frazier-Wood, A.C., Rich, S.S. 2015. Genomic medicine and ethnic differences in cardiovascular disease risk. In: Rodriguez-Oquendo, A., editor. Translational Cardiometabolic Genomic Medicine. Academic Press. p. 209-235.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: The origins of health disparities are a poorly understood public health problem. The effects of culture, environmental hazards, and social marginalization differ between ethnicities and have strong effects on health differences. The role of the genome in health is well established and we present a summary of its roles in risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD), its risk factors, and selected biomarkers of risk. We discuss why the genome may, alongside environmental hazards, contribute to ethnic differences in CVD. We also present the growing and diverse role of genetic factors on the risk of CVD and the impact of recent expansion of the human population on increased genomic diversity. Genetic backgrounds also differ between ethnicities, albeit in a manner more representative of the continuum of difference between individuals, rather than reflecting discrete categories, highlighting the need to move beyond our artificial socioeconomic constructs. In particular the allele frequencies of putative "causal variants" can be significantly different according to ancestry, which may account for much of the genomic contribution to health disparities and the manner in which we view personalized genomic medicine. Methodological issues including power and ancestry definition need to be resolved in order to more finely map the contribution of the genome to health and to population health differences. This area of research will remain vital if we are to minimize health disparities between non-Hispanic Whites and minority groups and so reduce the incidence of CVD in the Unites States.