Semin Reprod Med 2016; 34(04): 196-204
DOI: 10.1055/s-0036-1585406
Review Article
Thieme Medical Publishers 333 Seventh Avenue, New York, NY 10001, USA.

An Introduction to Genome-Wide Association Studies: GWAS for Dummies

A. G. Uitterlinden
1   Department of Internal Medicine, Genetic Laboratory, Erasmus MC, Rotterdam, The Netherlands
› Author Affiliations
Further Information

Publication History

Publication Date:
11 August 2016 (online)


Although the genetic origin of many human diseases and phenotypes has been long and widely recognized, identification of the causative gene alleles has been limited, slow, and cumbersome. This has changed substantially with the introduction of genome-wide association studies (GWASs) a decade ago, fueled by studies and reference projects of human genetic diversity and the development of novel DNA analysis technology applicable to high-throughput and large-scale data generation. Although GWASs essentially combine epidemiological study designs with molecular genetic analysis techniques, it has also fundamentally changed the way in which research was done in human genetics by the introduction of large consortia of collaborating investigators. GWASs have over flooded many clinical and basic research areas with gene discoveries, including those in reproductive medicine. This review describes aspects of GWAS methodology and how this field of human genetics is developing.